Music and Personality

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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...
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