The Music You Love Reveals More About Yourself to Others Than You Realize.
Did you know that perfect strangers can tell a lot about you just from the kinds of music you love? That’s probably why, according to a series of studies conducted jointly by the University of Cambridge in the UK and the University of Texas at Austin, music is the most common topic of conversation used by strangers to get to know each other. Among other findings, the results showed that personality traits could be determined with a high degree of accuracy based on a person’s music preferences and that consensual and accurate impression could be made based on those assumptions. After analyzing the music preferences of 2,000 people, researchers grouped music preferences and personalities into four major categories.
Reflective and Complex: People who prefer music such as blues, jazz, classical, and folk are usually contemplative and deep thinkers. They tend to be emotionally stable and open to new experiences, while possessing above average intelligence and verbal ability.
Intense and Rebellious: People who prefer music such as rock, alternative, or heavy metal tend to be athletic and high energy, also intelligent with good verbal skills.
Upbeat and Conventional: These people tend to prefer country western, soundtracks, religious music, and pop. They are very agreeable, usually extroverted, conscientious, often politically conservative, athletic, and intellectually bright with verbal ability.
Energetic and Rhythmic: These people prefer rap, hip hop, soul and funk, and are highly extroverted, athletic, outspoken and often politically liberal.
A study from the University of Amsterdam also found that the bands, songs and singers we remember most clearly in middle age are the ones we came to love between the ages of 16 and 21. This is due to the fact that the study also says we accumulate more memories between the ages of 10 and 21 than at any other time in our lives. It’s also probably why neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky, shares in Martin Lindstrom’s book, Brandwashed, about corporate consumer manipulation, that if we’re 35 or older when a new style of music comes along, there’s a 95% chance we’ll never listen to it. If you’re over 35, you’ve probably found yourself saying on more than one occasion, “The music today stinks. They don’t make great music anymore.”
Of course, your parents probably said the same thing about the music you loved as you were growing up. That seems strange particularly because research shows our parents’ musical tastes influence our own. What we heard in our homes as children and on the car radio as our parents were driving around running errands informed our musical preferences as were growing up. According to the study, when both parents preferred pop music, their children gravitated toward pop and dance music. Parents’ preferences for rock music indicated that their daughters would also like rock, but not their sons. Parents’ preference for classical music also correlated with a high preference for classical among their children.
So what does the music you love say about you?
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