Mind-Wandering during Personal Music Listening in Everyday Life: Music-Evoked Emotions Predict Thought Valence

Liila Taruffi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Research has shown that mind-wandering, negative mood, and poor wellbeing are closely related, stressing the importance of exploring contexts or tools that can stimulate positive thoughts and images. While music represents a promising option, work on this topic is still scarce with only a few studies published, mainly featuring laboratory or online music listening tasks. Here, I used the experience sampling method for the first time to capture mind-wandering during personal music listening in everyday life, aiming to test for the capacity of music to facilitate beneficial styles of mind-wandering and to explore its experiential characteristics. Twenty-six participants used a smart-phone application that collected reports of thought, mood, and emotion during music listening or other daily-life activities over 10 days. The application was linked to a music playlist, specifically assembled to induce positive and relaxing emotions. Results showed that mind-wandering evoked during music and non-music contexts had overall similar characteristics, although some minor differences were also observed. Most importantly, music-evoked emotions predicted thought valence, thereby indicating music as an effective tool to regulate thoughts via emotion. These findings have important applications for music listening in daily life as well as for the use of music in health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12321
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Early online date24 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • mind-wandering
  • music-evoked emotions
  • visual mental imagery
  • mood regulation
  • health
  • wellbeing
  • digital health interventions
  • experience sampling method
  • personal music listening


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