Study: Musical Styles and Preferences Reveal Personality Traits

July 10, 2003

Jennifer Warner of Web MD Medical News reports that whether you're a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll, the type of music you listen to may say a lot about your personality.

A new study shows there's a good reason why the question, "So, what kind of music do you listen to?" comes up often during first dates — the answer may speak volumes about another person's personality traits, interests, and outlook on life.

The study, published in the June issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, analyzed the musical tastes of more than 3,500 individuals and found the musical styles people favor are closely linked to their personalities.

It showed that musical preferences could be organized into the following four general dimensions according to the level of complexity, emotion, and energy found in each musical style:

* Reflective and complex - classical, jazz, blues, and folk
* Intense and rebellious - alternative, rock, and heavy metal
* Upbeat and conventional - pop, religious, country, and soundtracks
* Energetic and rhythmic - rap/hip-hop, soul/funk, and electronica/dance

Heavy metal fans who liked intense and rebellious music also tended to be open to new experiences and consider themselves intelligent, but they were also curious about different things, enjoy taking risks, and physically active. Read more.

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