Musical tastes and personality linked in study

A recent large scale study has established a link between musical tastes and personality. The researchers are now attempting to scale up the study.

1. There have been in the past attempt to make smaller connections, such as that between the kind of music you listen to and your propensity to step on the gas pedal. A poll done in April of this year  by Saga Motor Insurance found that half of all blues music listeners committed a speeding offence, followed by 45% of those listening to country and then country, reggae and finally hip-hop, in decreasing order of speeding offences. Of the 2,000 adults interviewed, 79% listened to music, mostly (65%) rock, but also easy listening (39%). Listening to talk radio will decrease your chances of accident: 22% of those listeners reported having been involved in an accident, compared to 78% of those who listened to music. The survey yielded an interesting chart of the most popular driving songs in the UK:

1. Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf
2. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
3. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
4 Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
5 Hotel California - The Eagles

The fact that Meat Loaf is still popular in UK leads me to fear endemic obesity among British drivers, while the second place reminds me of Mike Myers, another crazy Canuck, in Wayne's World:

2. An older study found some interesting conclusions:

Likes vocals: extraverted
Likes country: emotionally stable. On the face of it, this is bizarre really because country music is all about heartache. Either the emotionally stable are attracted to country music or it has a calming effect on the unstable!
Likes jazz: intellectual

3. There is even a fun online personality test based on your musical tastes.

4. A newer study, conducted by Adrian North from the Heriot-Watt University involved 36,000 people from all around the world. Their press release (.doc) states:

"Researchers have been showing for decades that fans or rock and rap are rebellious, and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated, but this is the first time that research has shown that personality links to liking for a wide range of musical styles. We asked people to rate how much they liked 104 musical styles, before then completing a personality test. 36518 people from all around the world took part, and the research is by far the largest study of musical preference and personality ever undertaken. Jazz and classical music fans are creative and have good self-esteem, but the former are much more outgoing whereas the latter are shy. Country and western fans are hardworking and shy, whereas rap fans are outgoing. Indie fans lack self-esteem, and aren’t terribly gentle people, but are at least creative. Contrary to the stereotype, heavy metal fans are gentle and at ease with themselves. People often define their sense of identity through their musical taste, wearing particular clothes, going to certain pubs, and using certain types of slang. It’s not so surprising that personality should also be related to musical preference.”

The study was covered by most news outlets, including CBC and Reuters. In an interview on BBC, Prof. North is quoted as saying:

"We have always suspected a link between music taste and personality. This is the first time that we've been able to look at it in real detail. No-one has ever done this on this scale before." Prof North said the research could have many uses in marketing, adding: "If you know a person's music preference you can tell what kind of person they are, who to sell to. "There are obvious implications for the music industry who are are worried about declining CD sales. One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They're both creative and at ease but not outgoing. The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things."

The following tables detail links between personality and music (first) or the characteristics of the music that people like to listen to (second). A ‘+’ means that people who like this type of music score higher on this aspect of personality, and a ‘-’ means that people who like this type of music score lower on this aspect of personality. If a cell is empty then there is no relationship.

 1. music_note Tastes

Self-esteem

Creative

Hardworking

Outgoing

Gentle

At ease

Bollywood

 

+

 

+

 

 

Indian folk

-

+

-

 

+

 

Latino

+

+

+

+

+

+

Samba

+

+

 

+

+

+

Blues

+

+

 

+

 

+

Funk

+

+

-

+

 

+

Jazz

+

+

 

+

 

+

Classical music

+

+

 

-

 

+

Opera

+

+

 

 

+

 

Easy listening

+

-

+

+

+

+

Country & western

 

 

+

+

 

 

Rap

+

 

 

+

 

 

Reggae

+

+

-

+

+

+

Dance music

 

+

 

+

-

 

Disco

+

-

+

+

+

 

Indie

-

+

-

 

-

 

Punk

-

+

-

 

-

 

Rock and roll

+

+

+

 

-

+

Rock /

heavy metal

-

+

-

-

+

+

Chart pop

+

-

+

+

+

-

Marching /

Military

+

 

 

-

-

+

Soul

+

+

 

+

+

+

Swing

+

+

 

 

 

+

 

 

Here's the second chart of results:

 

2. Emotion

Self-esteem

Creative

Hardworking

Outgoing

Gentle

At ease

Relaxing

+

+

+

-

+

+

Peaceful

+

+

+

-

+

+

Exciting

+

+

 

+

 

-

Celebratory

+

+

 

+

-

 

Unsettling

-

+

-

+

 

-

Disconcerting

-

+

-

 

 

-

Boring

-

 

-

 

 

-

Unstimulating

-

-

-

-

+

 

Arousing

+

+

+

+

-

-

 

It follows that you want to hire the employees who listen to Latino, Easy, Country, Disco, RnR and Chart Pop and fire those who are into Reggae, Punk, Funk, Indie, and Indian Folk. Break up with a significant other who likes indie, punk, indian folk or heavy metal and if you're an ad agency, fire those who listen to chart pop or disco. Alternatively, consider that your employees may have read this study as well and might now pick only musical tastes that will advance their careers smile_teeth

blog comments powered by Disqus
Your gift enables us to continue to provide high quality reporting with little or no advertising.