Arts, Culture & Media

Personality traits and musical preferences


(image: AmoebaMusic/Flickr)

A recent study suggests that the kind of music we prefer may have less to do with taste (or lack thereof) and more to do with our personalities. For example, being a fan of opera could indicate that you are a gentle soul, with high self esteem and a creative bent. Other genres have other implications, as Adrian North, Professor of Applied Psychology at at Heriot Watt University, has researched.

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"We've set up a website which 36,000 people, including a very large number from North America, went to visit.  And when people went there, we asked them how much they liked 104 different musical styles.  These musical styles came from every contient on the planet, except Antarctica."

There were some surprises in the results. Says Professor North,  "Certainly what caught my eye was the link between fans of heavy metal music and classical music. Of course, the classical music fans are much older, but apart from that, their personalities were quite similar. They scored quite highly on a measure of open-mindedness, they both tended to be quite introverted, and they both, nonetheless, tend to feel quite at ease with themselves."

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