Using fsQCA to Illuminate Person Attributes of Music Engagement in Alzheimer's Disease

Ashley D. Vanstone, Anja Xiaoxing Cui, Lola L. Cuddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preserved engagement with music in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is noteworthy given that such persons lack interest and engagement in the activities of daily life. Because music engagement is associated with increased well-being, illuminating personal attributes that facilitate music engagement is an important step towards utilizing music as a therapeutic tool. Here, we use Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis, a systematic approach to case study series analysis, to explore the role of personal attributes such as musical semantic memories, music perceptual abilities, and overall cognitive status in facilitating music engagement in 15 individuals with a diagnosis of probable AD. Nine different solution terms revealed many different pathways to preserved music engagement in AD. Solutions demonstrated the equifinality of music engagement and the usefulness of the qualitative comparative analysis approach. This article is meant to provide both concrete evidence for the role of different person attributes in music engagement in AD and an illustration of the application of qualitative comparative analysis. We discuss our results using the Comprehensive Process Model as a framework and provide suggestions on how to incorporate qualitative comparative analysis in the research workflow.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalMusic and Science
Early online date30 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [RHPIN/333-2010]; a Grammy Foundation Scientific Research Grant to Lola L. Cuddy.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • music engagement
  • musical semantic memories
  • qualitative comparative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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