Could the playlists lurking on your iPod really reveal information about your personality? Research conducted by psychologists Jason Rentfrow and Sam Gosling suggests that knowing the type of music you listen to can actually lead to surprisingly accurate predictions about your personality.
For example, researchers found that people could make accurate judgments about an individual's levels of extraversion, creativity and open-mindedness after listening to ten of their favorite songs. Extraverts tend to seek out songs with heavy bass lines, while those who enjoy more complex styles such as jazz and classical music tend to be more creative and have higher IQ-scores.
Another study conducted by researchers at Heriot-Watt University looked at more than 36,000 participants from all over the world. Participants were asked to rate more than 104 different musical styles in addition to offering information about aspects of their personality. The following are just some of the personality traits linked to certain musical styles.
Do you prefer to listen to the top 40 hits? Do the latest tracks from Rhianna, Selena Gomez and Flo Rida make up your workout mix? If so, chances are that you also tend to be extraverted, honest and conventional. While pop music lovers are hard-working and have high self-esteem, researchers suggests that they tend to be less creative and more uneasy.
Rap and Hip/Hop
Are Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre more your style? In spite of the stereotype that rap lovers are more aggressive or violent, researchers have actually found no such link. Rap fans do tend to have high self-esteem and are usually outgoing.
Would you rather watch CMT instead of MTV? Country music fans are typically hardworking, conventional and outgoing. While country songs are often centered on heartbreak, people who gravitate towards this genre tend to be very emotionally stable.
Rock / Heavy Metal
Despite the sometimes aggressive image that rock music and heavy metal project, researchers found that fans of this style of music are usually quite gentle. They tend to be creative, but are often introverted and may suffer from low self-esteem.
Do you love seeking out obscure bands and indie artists? Fans of the indie genre are typically introverted, intellectual and creative. According to researchers, they also tend to be less hard-working and less gentle. Passivity, anxiousness and low self-esteem are other common personality characteristics.
Do you love the fast-paced rhythms of dance music? According to researchers, people who prefer dance music are usually outgoing and assertive.
Jazz, Blues and Soul
According to researcher Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, the reason people sometimes feel defensive about their taste in music might be related to how much it relates to attitudes and personality. "People do actually define themselves through music and relate to other people through it but we haven’t known in detail how music is connected to identity," he explained.
The next time you are putting together a playlist to listen to during your commute or workout, consider how your personality might be reflected in your song choices.
Collingwood, J. (2008). Preferred Music Style Is Tied to Personality. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2008/preferred-music-style-is-tied-to-personality/
North, A. C. and Hargreaves, D. J. (2008). The social and applied psychology of music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
North, A. C., Desborough, L., and Skarstein, L. (2005). Musical preference, deviance, and attitudes towards celebrities. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1903-1914.