Does the music you listen to affect your personality? (3 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does the music you listen to affect your personality?” and explore the concept of personality, different genres of music and the impact of music and its several genres on personality using various studies to help understand the answer. 

Does the music you listen to affect your personality?

Yes, the music you listen to can affect your personality. Researchers have also discovered a link between musical preferences and psychological factors. 

While experts are currently looking into the relationship between listening to music and its potential to impact a person’s mood over time, there is substantial evidence that music may brighten or dampen a person’s mood more quickly.

The following are 3 insights into how the music you listen to affects your personality –

  • Music was found to be a suitable stimulus for creating and keeping an emotion for a long time.
  • Music appears to be helpful in determining personality.  
  • Music is a big component of people’s lives and social behaviour.

What are these 3 insights into how the music you listen to affects your personality?

Music was found to be a suitable stimulus for creating and keeping an emotion for a long time.

The association between music genres and personality qualities has been investigated by psychologists (Rawlings et al., 1995). 

The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised, which includes measures of psychoticism, extraversion, neuroticism, and social desirability scores as well as a Music Preference Scale, was used to assess and correlate dance, easy-listening, classical, and hard-rock music. 

Patients with severe psychosis tended to favour “harder” music and harsher noises. Low-level psychotic individuals liked “softer” music and more consonant sounds.

The findings show that highly psychotic individuals may choose music that conveys psychoticism’s violent antisocial traits. 

Students at Cornell University measured/judged their emotions of melancholy, fear, and ridicule after listening to classical musical selections by Albinoni, Alfven, Barber, Holst, Mussorgsky, and Vivaldi in another research (Krumhansl, 1997) on emotion. 

Listening to Albinoni and Barber evoked the most powerful feelings of melancholy. The music of Holst and Mussorgsky was deemed to be the most effective in eliciting feelings of anxiety, dread, and surprise. 

Emotion ratings over time revealed that feelings were sustained, indicating that music might be a suitable stimulus for creating and keeping an emotion for a long time.

Cattell and Sanders (1954) looked at individual characteristics such as likes and dislikes of different forms of music and discovered that jazz and classical music were linked to an emotional, introspective, but upbeat personality (Cattell & Saunders, 1954).

The data is backed by the theory that classical music has the highest level of absorption (Openness). Conservatives liked known music over unfamiliar music more than liberals, according to research by Glascow, Cartier, and Wilson (1985).

According to Van Eijck (2001), people in higher socioeconomic level groups prefer a wider range of musical genres than those in lower socioeconomic status groups.

Because the human experience includes a variety of activities such as listening to music, playing video games, watching television, participating in sports and reading books, this research focused on music preferences and how they connect to personality. 

Music appears to be helpful in determining personality.  

According to a study, some forms of music are associated with the personality attribute of Openness but not with the trait of Agreeableness. 

Openness was the most robust personality attribute, as it had been in 41 prior investigations (Dollinger, 1993 & Zweigenhaft, 2008), and it was associated with enjoying less traditional or mainstream music types such as Classical and Techno.

It’s time to classify these genres of music as mainstream and to see if non-traditional music is linked to certain personality traits and behaviours through additional research. 

As in the previous investigations, taste for more than one genre of music was found to be substantially connected with openness (Dollinger, 1993 & Zweigenhaft, 2008).

The significance of these findings is similar to that of other studies comparing music preference and personality (Little & Zuckerman, 1986; Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003; Owens, Herrmann, & Gordon, 2006), in that music preferences give information about personality that is not commonly accessible through other perceptible indicators, and that highly educated middle-class people are not only predisposed enthusiasts of Classical music (Savage, 2006), but also of Rhythm and Blues, Techno, and Alternative music.

Although open individuals enjoyed Alternative, Classical, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and Techno music, they did not like Top 40 Pop or HipHop/Rap music, according to this survey. 

It should be mentioned that country music fans were shown to be less receptive to new experiences, while hip-hop/rap listeners were found to be less agreeable than other music listeners in this study. It is also necessary to perform further study on County music listeners.

According to statistics, Caucasian and Hispanic teenagers are 1.5 times more likely than African American teenagers to listen to current songs on the radio on a daily basis. 

Due to the fact that African-American adolescents are 1 time more likely than Hispanic teens and twice as likely as white teens to listen to Hip-Hop/Rap music (Seo, 2002), it is unlikely that Hip-Hop/Rap music would have been picked, resulting in non-significance.

It should be emphasised, however, that if the Seo (2002) demographics are correct, generalisations about African-American youth being less agreeable than other races might be drawn. 

In addition, more studies on African-Americans and their musical tastes should be incorporated into personality studies. 

It’s also worth noting that there was no link between Agreeableness and favourite music style or a number of preferred music types, implying that there are limitations to one’s Agreeableness and openness to experience, independent of what music one chooses.

How race, age, gender, and music connect to personality patterns is one of the outcomes and findings to explore. 

The findings of this study may help researchers better understand personality patterns and how some social components of human behaviour, such as music listening, music liking, and music genres, are more likely than other social clues to reflect personality.

It can also improve our ability to use music to help with therapy by incorporating music into the therapeutic process by having people bring in their own preferred music to listen to during therapy, having music available and playing in psychological settings such as therapy waiting rooms, and understanding that one’s preference for a specific music style could aid therapists in understanding specific personality traits of clients that can aid in determining the likelihood of a positive outcome.

As a result, music appears to be helpful in determining personality. Knowing which music type is likely to be connected with being open to experience, as well as their association with 43 personality factors, might help advertisers target advertisements more precisely. 

Music is a big component of people’s lives and social behaviour.

Therapists can employ music in therapy in a variety of ways, including in waiting rooms and as background music in treatment, as previously discussed. This music preference study and music listening habits research can raise awareness about a branch of psychology that is rarely employed in popular studies.

Combining music and personality as a component in the psychological study may widen the traditional research that focuses on what is odd or unusual, rather than employing common aspects like music.

Regardless of the findings, using music and the findings of music choice connected to psychological factors contributes to the information about social behaviours. 

Music, a daily feature of social conduct, can assist in research that is generalizable to the general public because music is a big component of people’s lives and social behaviour.

In 2016, University of Cambridge music psychologist David Greenberg and his colleagues conducted a study called “The Song Is You” to see how the main three dimensions of music, “arousal” (music’s energy level), “valence” (music’s emotional range from sad to happy), and “depth” (music’s level of sophistication and emotional depth), are linked to the Big Five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neo-narcissism

People who are confident are more likely to love uplifting music, whilst those seeking thrill favour high arousal music. According to Greenberg, people who were labelled as open-minded had not just a broader taste in music, but were also more open to music that crossed genres or was labelled as “genre-fluid.”

16 Personalities, an online Myers-Briggs test that has been completed by over 388 million people, has discovered substantial correlations between musical preference and the 16 personality types described. 

They discovered that “analyst” characters are those who “are most typically admired for the pure technical competence at work as much as for the more emotive characteristics of these songs,” such as rock, classical, and jazz, according to the paper. 

They’re also the ones that utilise headphones the most. Diplomats, on the other hand, like music with a high level of emotional intensity and depth, such as blues, soul, world, and alternative music.

Conclusion – 

This blog post attempted to answer the question, “Does the music you listen to affect your personality?” and reviewed the concept of personality, different genres of music and the impact of music and its several genres on personality using various studies to help determine if the music you listen to affects your personality. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Somvichian-Clausen, A. Science now says you can judge people by their taste in music after all. (2021, April 6). Retrieved from  https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/546777-science-now-says-you-can-judge-people-by-their-taste#:~:text=Researchers%20have%20also%20found%20a,dampen%20your%20mood%20more%20immediately.

Does the music you listen to link to your personality? Los Angeles Times, High School Insider. (2016, December 16). Retrieved from  https://highschool.latimes.com/los-angeles-high-school-of-the-arts/does-the-music-you-listen-to-link-to-your-personality/

Cherry, K. Music Preferences and Your Personality. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from  https://www.verywellmind.com/music-and-personality-2795424

Anderson, I. et al. ‘Just The Way You Are’: Music Listening and Personality. (2020, December 15). Retrieved from  https://research.atspotify.com/just-the-way-you-are-music-listening-and-personality/

How does music influence your personality? Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

https://www.quora.com/How-does-music-influence-your-personality

Deflin, K. Your Taste In Music Is Linked To Your Personality, According To Science. (2016, May 10). Retrieved from  https://liveforlivemusic.com/features/your-taste-in-music-is-linked-to-your-personality-according-to-science/

Avramova,, N. How music can change the way you feel and act. (2019, February 20). Retrieved from  https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/08/health/music-brain-behavior-intl/index.html

Psychology of music preference. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2022, January 9). Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_music_preference

Smith, M. Here’s what your taste in music says about your personality. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://bestinau.com.au/what-music-says-about-personality/

Hull. R. K. The Relationship between Personality and Music Preference. (2009, December). Retrieved from  https://scholarsrepository.llu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1755&context=etd

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