Music and Personality What Does Your Taste In Music Reveal About Your Personality? Could the playlists lurking on your iPod really reveal information about your personality? Research conducted by psychologists Jason Rentfrow and Sam Gosling suggests that knowing the type of music you listen to can actually lead to surprisingly accurate predictions about your personality. For example, researchers found that people could make accurate judgments about an individual’s levels of extraversion, creativity and open-mindedness after listening to ten of their favorite songs.
Extraverts tend to seek out songs with heavy bass lines, while those who enjoy more complex styles such as jazz and classical music tend to be more creative and have higher IQ-scores. Why music is such a significant part of people’s identity? People may define their musical identity by wearing particular clothes, going to certain pubs, and using certain types of slang. So it’s not so surprising that personality should be related to musical preference. People can get defensive about what they like to listen to, as it is likely to be profoundly linked to their outlook on life.
The study also demonstrates the “tribal function” of musical taste that can explain why people often bond over music. North (scientist) noted that classical and heavy metal music both attracts listeners with similar personalities but dissimilar ages. Younger members of the personality group apparently go for heavy metal, while their older counterparts prefer classical. However, both have the same basic motivation: to hear something dramatic and theatrical, a shared “love of the grandiose,” he said. The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and being a danger to themselves and society in general,” he said, “but they are quite delicate things. Aside from their age, they’re basically the same kind of person [as a classical music fan]. Lots of heavy metal fans will tell you that they also like Wagner, because it’s big, loud and brash. There’s also a sense of theater in both heavy rock and classical music, and I suspect that this is what they’re really trying to get at when they listen to that kind of music.
I think that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, both have something of the spiritual about them — they’re very dramatic — a lot happens. The study conducted by researchers at Heriot-Watt University looked at more than 36,000 participants from all over the world. Participants were asked to rate more than 104 different musical styles in addition to offering information about aspects of their personality. Of course this helps explain why people who like the same styles of music tend to stick together, but it goes deeper than just a ‘similar interests’ thing – it’s almost suggests a new kind of tribalism.
He described the findings as dramatic and surprising. To my mind, writing a portrait of my group, describing their tastes and trying to reveal what kind of music they do prefer would give me a really hard time. We have something in common. Those 4 years of co-existing in the same community brought up the similar views on particular things and music is one of them. That’s why if I asked them what style of music they prefer, they would probably answer, “I can’t say exactly. I listen to everything that I like, to everything that is pleasant to my ear. I know those guys, most of them would answer this way, believe me. =) So I’ve decided to make a test, just there, on the spot. To find out what kind of music appeals to them more and consequently discover something new about their personal traits. (Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to try it out, but anyway the preparation itself was useful and interesting experience for me). I have 10 tracks (songs) on the CD, each student is to decide which song appeal to him more. But mind! Only one song! The number of the song refers to the number of the style of music in the list below. . Pop Do you prefer to listen to the top 40 hits? Do the latest tracks from Rhianna, Selena Gomez and Flo Rida make up your workout mix? If so, chances are that you also tend to be extraverted, honest and conventional. While pop music lovers are hard-working and have high self-esteem, researchers suggests that they tend to be less creative and more uneasy. 2. Rap and Hip/Hop Are Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre more your style? In spite of the stereotype that rap lovers are more aggressive or violent, researchers have actually found no such link.
Rap fans do tend to have high self-esteem and are usually outgoing. 3. Country Would you rather watch CMT instead of MTV? Country music fans are typically hardworking, conventional and outgoing. While country songs are often centered on heartbreak, people who gravitate towards this genre tend to be very emotionally stable. 4. Rock / Heavy Metal Despite the sometimes aggressive image that rock music and heavy metal project, researchers found that fans of this style of music are usually quite gentle. They tend to be creative, but are often introverted and may suffer from low self-esteem. 5.
Indie ( Just in case… Independent music (often shortened to indie music or indie) is music produced independently from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing. The term indie is sometimes also used to describe a genre (such as indie rock or indie pop); as a genre term, “indie” may include music that is not independently produced, and most independent music artists do not fall into a single, defined musical style or genre and usually create music that can be categorized into other genres. Do you love seeking out obscure bands and indie artists? Fans of the indie genre are typically introverted, intellectual and creative. According to researchers, they also tend to be less hard-working and less gentle. Passivity, anxiousness and low self-esteem are other common personality characteristics. 6. Dance Do you love the fast-paced rhythms of dance music? According to researchers, people who prefer dance music are usually outgoing and assertive. 7. Classical
Classical music lovers are typically more introverted, but are also at ease with themselves and the world around them. They are creative and have a good sense of self-esteem. 8. Jazz, Blues and Soul People who enjoy jazz, blues or soul music were found to be more extraverted with high self-esteem. They also tend to be very creative, intelligent and at ease. The research has also looked at income vs music tastes, and found that higher income music loves like punchy and exciting music, whereas lower income listeners prefer more relaxing music in general.
Of course there will always be exceptions, but his findings were quite telling on a general level. The research also found that as a whole, people who are into music are fairly well-rounded, creative and at ease with themselves. Much of his research is described in his book . As this is the first time that this type of research has been done in a scientific way, there is still much to find out. So, the next time you are putting together a playlist to listen to during your commute or workout, consider how your personality might be reflected in your song choices.