New research from around the world suggests that an individual’s favorite music genre is closely linked to his or her personality. Professor Adrian North of Heritor-Watt University, Edinburgh, I-J, has undertaken the largest study so far of musical tastes and personality type. He is an expert on music psychology and has carried out extensive research on the social and applied psychology of music, in particular the relationship between pop music culture and deviant behavior in adolescence, music and consumer behavior, and the role of musical preference in everyday life.
Over the course of three years, Professor North asked more than 36,000 people in more than 60 countries to rate a wide range of musical styles in order of preference. Certain aspects of personality were also measured by questionnaire. The results showed: Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle Indies fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard working, and not gentle Plywood fans are creative and outgoing Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease Soul fans have high self- esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease North said he wanted to study why music is such a significant part of people’s identity. “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 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. ” People may define their musical identity by wearing particular clothes, going to retain pubs, and using certain types of slang. So it’s not so surprising that personality should be related to musical preference. “We really got the sense that people were selecting musical styles to like that match their own personality,” North said. He believes that his results show why people can get defensive about what they like to listen to, as it is likely to be profoundly linked to their outlook on life.
The study also demonstrates the “tribal function” of musical taste that can explain why people often bond over music. North noted that classical and heavy metal music both attracts listeners with similar personalities but dissimilar ages. Younger members of the personality group apparently go for heavy metal, while their older counterparts prefer classical. However, both have the same basic motivation: to hear something dramatic and theatrical, a shared “love of the grandiose,” he said. “The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidal depressed and being a things. Aside from their age, they’re basically the same kind of person [as a classical music fan].