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Does Music Taste Define One’s Personality? Let’s Explore

Man on walk in nature while listening to music on the radio or podcast with wireless headphones. Fit, active and healthy runner on a wellness, sports and mental health run for fitness and exercise.

We can all agree that everyone has very different tastes in music, and what sounds great to one person might come across as terrible to another. This is why some people win Grammys and others don’t, according to Jay-Z at least. But have we ever wondered whether the music we listen to defines us, and if so, in what ways?

Whichever genre you’re into, music is ubiquitous. In fact, a life without music would be rather mundane. Think about it: we listen to our favorite songs when we drive, work, study, exercise and even cook and clean. But beyond that, music is incorporated into other things we might not realize because it’s so intrinsic, which is why it inadvertently shapes our character and personality.

Need to do some shopping? Chances are, there’s some sort of background music. Making that necessary but tedious call to your local bank? You can most certainly expect some classics like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or perhaps Strauss’ Frühlingsstimmen if they’re feeling a little adventurous. Even when playing a round of online slots for free with no deposit, there’s that unmistakable upbeat music that’s not only motivating but enjoyable. If you like a good round of slots but are still looking for a good operator to register with and play such games, you should have a look at this listing of slots bonuses by BonusMonitor.ca.

Music Genres and The Big Five

Two stylish DJs performing together late into the night at a colourful open air nightclub.

Have you ever wondered why you and your friends tend to listen to the same type of music for example? Research has shown that this isn’t a natural coincidence. A study carried out across more than 50 countries and including over 350,000 participants indicates a clear link between musical preferences and ‘Big Five’ personality traits, and flash news – it’s universal. These include: 

  1. Openness – how willing you are to flow with the experience. 
  2. Agreeableness – how well you interact with others. 
  3. Conscientiousness – how reliable, responsible, and in control you are. 
  4. Neuroticism – how anxious, sensitive, or nervous you might be. 
  5. Extraversion – how introvert or extrovert you are perceived to be. 

In terms of musical preferences, researchers made use of the MUSIC model which is a widely accepted method of grouping up musical genres, and is defined by the following five styles:

  1. Unpretentious – relaxing, uncomplicated, and non-aggressive music. Typical genre associations: country music
  2. Intense – loud, aggressive, and distorted music. Typical genre associations: heavy metal, punk, classic rock, and power pop. 
  3. Mellow – soft, romantic, slot music Typical genre associations: R&B, soft rock, and other contemporary genres.
  4. Sophisticated – complex, inspiring music with dynamic features. Typical genre associations: modern and classic jazz, classical music, and opera. 
  5. Contemporary – upbeat, rhythmic music with electronic attributes. Typical genre associations: Latin, rap, Euro-pop, and EDM. 

What Your Music Says About You

Even though Spotify already judges you and your choice in music each year with the Wrap Up feature, this particular study, showed that people who scored high on extraversion were more inclined to listen to lively, upbeat, and contemporary music, whereas users scored higher on openness were more likely to enjoy a more mellow and sophisticated music genre such as opera or jazz for example. Other results transpired related to music genres transpired as follows:

  • Hip Hop / Rap – despite the stereotype leading us to believe that rap and hip-hop lovers tend to be violent or aggressive, this research disproved any such links. Instead, results show that rap lovers tend to have higher self-esteem than other respondents and would generally score higher on the agreeability scale compared to fans of other music genres. 
  • Pop – Conventional, honest, and extroverted, pop music lovers tended to come across as more hardworking than others and possessed high self-esteem, however, the research also suggests that this type of music fan tends to be less creative overall. 
  • Rock / Heavy Metal – often depicting an image of aggression and anger, this music style appeals to a much gentler crowd according to this study. Rock and heavy metal fans tended to score higher on the creativity scale, as well as being considered introverts with lower self-esteem. 
  • Country – these fans are generally considered hardworking, outgoing, conventional, and conservative, as well as emotionally stable. They also generally ranked lower when compared to other respondents on the openness scale. 
  • Electronic / Dance – those preferring this music genre were typically considered assertive, outgoing, and open to new experiences, but ranked lower than others when it comes to gentleness. 
  • Jazz / Soul / Blues – most respondents that selected this music type as their favorite tended to display above-average self-esteem, as well as ranking pretty high on the intelligence and creativity scale. 
  • Classic / Opera – in this study, classical music and opera lovers tended to be at ease with being considered introverts while ranking considerably higher on creativity and high self-esteem. 
  • Indie – and lastly indie fans were mostly considered intellectual and creative introverts that were somewhat less gentle and hardworking than fans of other music styles. Interestingly, low self-esteem, passivity and anxiety were other personality traits that are closely related to this genre.