Music tastes link to personality


Musical tastes and personality type are closely related, according to a study of more than 36,000 people from around the world.
The research, which was carried out by Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University, is said to be the largest such study ever undertaken.

It suggested classical music fans were shy, while heavy metal aficionados were gentle and at ease with themselves.

Professor North described the research as “significant” and “surprising”.

What does your musical taste say about you?

He said: “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.”

Professor 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 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.”

More than 36,000 people from all over the world were asked to rate 104 musical styles and also questioned about aspects of their personality.

The study is continuing and Professor North, who is head of the university’s department of applied psychology, is still looking for participants to take part in a short online questionnaire.

Musical styles

versus personality traits

Blues: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Jazz: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing and at ease

Classical Music: High self-esteem, creative, introvert and at ease

Rap: High self-esteem, outgoing

Opera: High self-esteem, creative, gentle

Country & Western: Hardworking, outgoing

Reggae: High self-esteem, creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Dance: Creative, outgoing, not gentle

Indie: Low self-esteem, creative, not hard working, not gentle

Bollywood: Creative, outgoing

Rock & Heavy Metal: Low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, at ease

Chart Pop: High self-esteem, not creative, hardworking, outgoing, gentle, not at ease

Soul: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease

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