The Role of Physiology, Affect, Behavior and Cognition in Leader Character Activation: A Music Intervention


  • Mary Crossan Ivey Business School, Western University
  • Cassandra Ellis Ivey Business School, Western University
  • Corey Crossan University of Oxford



We build on the theoretical model proposed by Crossan et al. (2021) to examine leader character activation, through the use of music, as a foundational area for leader character development. Our findings reveal that music influences all of the physiology, affect, behavior, cognitive (PABC) systems to more and less degrees. As well, music activates all dimensions of character, with different dimensions of character varying in their reliance on the PABC systems. Our empirical examination underscores the importance of examining activation as an initial step in development, yielding insights into the holistic role of the PABC systems in character development. Although all four systems are implicated, this study points to the need to understand how various dimensions of leader character rely differentially on the PABCs, which provides important insight into how leader character development can be tailored. Finally, the study verifies the important role of music therapy in the activation and subsequent development of leader character and paves the way for other innovative approaches that move beyond the cognitive and behavioral focus in leadership development to embrace physiology and affect as well.


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How to Cite

Crossan, M., Ellis, C., & Crossan, C. (2023). The Role of Physiology, Affect, Behavior and Cognition in Leader Character Activation: A Music Intervention. Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 10(2), 14–41.