A new study seems to move further towards proving the notion that your taste in music says a lot about who you are and what your personality is like. Adrian North, a professor at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University has studied the link between peoples’ personalities and their choice of music.
One finding that was striking was the personality traits shared between people with very different musical tastes. For example fans of heavy metal music are gentle, creative people who are generally at ease with themselves – which makes them very similar to fans of classical music.
According to North:
Researchers have been showing for decades that fans of rock and rap are rebellious, and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated
We think, what we think the answer is, that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, both have something of the spiritual about them they’re very dramatic a lot happens.
The study (which is ongoing, see below if you would like to participate!) was conducted by researching 36,000 people from six different countries and found that people are more similar with people who share their tastes in music than they are even with their fellow countrymen.
Of course this helps explain why people who like the same styles of music tend to stick together, but it goes deeper than just a ‘similar interests’ thing – it’s almost suggests a new kind of tribalism. He described the findings as dramatic and surprising.
- Jazz fans seem to be creative and outgoing and have high self-esteem – this is in line with the innovative and sociable nature of jazz.
- Country western fans were found to be introverted and hard-working.
- Rap fans are outgoing aggressive.
- Blues fans have high self-esteem and are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
- Reggae listeners have High self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking (I wonder why?), outgoing, gentle and at ease
- Rave music listeners are creative, outgoing but agressive
- Pop music fans are not very creative but hardworking, outgoing, gentle and generally not at ease
- Soul fans generally have high self-esteem and are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
- Indie music lovers lack both self-esteem and the work ethic. (can anyone say “EMO!”)
His research has also looked at income vs music tastes, and found that higher income music loves like punchy and exciting music, whereas lower income listeners prefer more relaxing music in general. Of course there will always be exceptions, but his findings were quite telling on a general level.
The research also found that as a whole, people who are into music are fairly well-rounded, creative and at ease with themselves. Much of his research is described in this book . There also are other studies that link mental problems to different style of musical tastes.
As this is the first time that this type of research has been done in a scientific way, there is still much to find out. There are definitely some marketing applications here that scare me just a little bit. Pretty soon we’ll start to see country music tracks in Money Mart commercials.
The research is ongoing, and if you’re interested, he is still looking for participants. Go here to fill in an survey.
you guys really get mad over a joke about indie being EMO?
Firstly, I seriously don’t see the connection between indie and emo at all. Just what? Secondly, I’m a typical “indie fan” and I’d like to clarify to many that yes, indie does refer to the music being produced independently but over the years it’s really become a wide-ranging genre in itself. I’d like to say that in many cases there is a HUGE difference between indie pop and indie rock and personally I find that indie rock is very similar to alternative but more..raw I would say. Indie pop can be compared to dream pop, electropop, etc. etc. with more synth sounds and lighter moods (usually). Many who sit on the line and self-identify as “just indie” are usually actually the cross between the two or strangely enough, more to the folk side of music. Thirdly, just something I’ve noticed, after the few indie bands who make it big are hated on for “not being indie anymore”, it’s never because they literally aren’t and are now signed under some big entertainment company. It’s because they lose their “unique indie sounds” or “go pop” and “change genres” which can’t happen unless indie IS A GENRE. just sayin’.
while I am excited to read more about this individual’s research, I do feel compelled to point out that Peter J. Rentfore and Samuel D. Gosling first published a paper on personality traits and correlations between musical preferences in 2003 (The Do Re Mi’s of everyday life: The structures and personality correlates of music preferences). This study was then replicated by Delsing, ter Bogt, Engels and Meeus in the netherlands in 2006. Further, Chamarro-Premuzic has also done quite a bit of work in this arena over the years, meaning the study you are referring to is in no way the first scientific investigation of musical preferences and social correlates. From a writers stand point, I would also encourage you against taking pot shots at various subcultures within an article like this, all you have managed to do with your comments on emo music, the indie scene, reggae, etc. is distract from the core message of your article, which can be seen by the fact that nearly no one is actually discussing the research you are reffering to, but instead discussing whether or not indie music is emo (you have effectively trolled your own article)
I’m kind of an old guy, 63, I grew up before everything was put in its little compartment. When I was in the first grade, there were sock hops at school ,grades 1-12, I remember Buddy Holly being played there.On the radio there was country 16 Tons, -Merle Travis sung by Ernie Ford. The wonderful “Tennessee Waltz” which I think was the first song ever multi -tracked, Did Les Paul produce that?I don’t know. My wild uncle and which ever red head was married to him at the time ,liked jitterbugging to Cab Calloway. Sometimes we got those old black southern stations on the car radio, tremendous beautiful music with strange commercials , for baby chickens and pshchic services, and Randy’s record store. I come from southern Indiana, this is bluegrass pickin’ country. I was lucky enough to see Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanly every year.In other words its all good.I like it all, except “screamo” but if you want to listen to it you have my blessing, just don’t park your sub woofer in front of my house at 2 am.
I enjoy reading, or keeping up to date on how music can be tied to personality as I often relate my personality to the music I listen to.
Although I do get very confused to the point where – I do listen to a fusion of metal, jazz, opera and folk. Would it mean that I contain traits of 4 different personality types?
I find very confusing.
This is not a study. This is someone’s opinion spewed out about only a few genre’s of music. Indie is an umbrella term, but so is “emo”. The jab and linked article about “emo” and indie is in no way proffesional but is also inaccurate. This article is disgraceful. The entire thing is inaccurate and not scientifically based at all. There are not even statstics in this “study”. This is not funny. This is disgraceful.
Indie means individual- produced by oneself, not by a big company or brand. It’s not a genre.
In this article it is said, that rave is music. Rave IS NOT a music. It is a word for type of movement -subculture. And even if article is talking about “rave music” that includes various music styles such as techno, house, trance(psyhadelic, goa, progressive,..),… and we can not throw them in the same basket. Personality of techno differ from trance very much.
Indie=Independent (ie. independent/not major record label or movie studio as the case may be)
Alright, well, I was reading the comments and felt the need to argue with Purps.
Firstly, there are many, many metal-heads who are both gentle, and at ease. You just haven’t met them and are making a stereo-typical statement about a select few.
Secondly, Metal isn’t just random yelling or random growling. Yes, in a few sub-genres of metal there IS quite a bit of it, but mostly there are lyrics, you just have to give it a chance and actually listen to the music. Try “S–c-d- Silence,” or “Attila” or anything between the two if you are having troubles finding metal with lyrics.
Thirdly, the comment about not liking anything below 140 bpm, have you ever heard of something called a “breakdown?”
Alright, I’m done 🙂
WOW this is so wrong its not even funny
Heavy metal listeners are gentle and at ease. This must be a joke, not that a metal listener couldn’t be these things it’s just that all of them I know are nothing like that. Most metalheads have poor dispositions and are usually very vocal about their distaste for any music that doesn’t have a tempo of at least 140 and lyrics that don’t contain RAAAAAWWWGGHHH or AAARRRGGWWHHH shouted incoherently through a song.
Also just as they used indie as an umbrella term, they use creative, outgoing and aggressive in a similar way. They should’ve just saved time on the research and said “everyones musical taste is unique and complex to mirror ones own self.” No one listens to just one type of music otherwise you would be depriving yourself of too much.
As for labeling indie vs emo. That’s just like rap vs hip-hop, or jazz vs blues, etc.. Sometimes it’s just better to not label something because then you’ll have people say “oh well, that band is emo rock new wave alternative punk fusion and I’ll defend to my grave that they pioneered that genre.”
Two facts will always remain constant:
1. Everyone everywhere always thinks they have good taste in music. and 2. Everyone everywhere is pretty much an idiot.(including me and you)
Purps. Your devastatingly narrow and culturally confined comment concerning metal and metal heads is offensive. I for one have never heard ‘RAAAAAWWWRRRR’ shouted incoherently in a song. In fact, the fact that you could actually utilize onomatopoeia and spell the sound out proves that it indeed was not incoherent but very much of the opposite.
I listen to many styles of music but metal is my niche. Just because you do not understand an art form of expression does not mean you can besmirch its worth with ignorant ramblings; educate yourself before you speak. Most of my friends are metals heads to varying degrees and each one of them would give the shirt off their back to someone in need and have done so many times.
Finally I would have to say that I don’t actually care if I have good taste in music or not; I like what I listen to and that’s all that matters so I most definitely do not consider myself and idiot as your closing paragraph states we all are.
I fail to understand how indie can be a genre when it (usually) applies to the method of production rather than the style of music.
Yea, there’s a HUGE difference between indie and emo. Just another dumb music article that mislabels music, get it right or don’t do it at all. Everyone else above me has already hit the points, no need to repeat.
Pop music fans are not very creative but hardworking, outgoing, gentle and generally not at ease
that’s me alright
I can’t help but agree with mr-cash. Indie has a sort of air of mystery around it in the sense that it essentially encompasses a wide genre of sounds. It is by no means distinctive. The only thing it seems to say to me is that indie fans (who tend to be in their teens. Surprise, surprise!)are more focused on self definition rather than goal oriented work. Naturally, constant focus on the self yields very little actual creative output. I think the appropriate thing to say is ‘It’s just a phase’. Thus the results of the experiment are explicable. Can I back this up with a source? No. But look around you.
‘Indie’ is a blanket term used to describe anything from pop to punk, and everything in between. Mr Crash nailed it, it’s a slippery tag that is only really used when no other genre appears to apply. Kinda like ‘Alternative’ but makes less sense.
Oh come on msr,
First off, i’m pretty sure it’s a joke. Secondly, I’d love to hear what you actually think “indie” is. There’s plenty of indie bands that should be called something like dance rock or emo or just straight up pop.
It’s one of those horrible slippery genres that doesn’t tell you anything about the sound.
Nice article, but Indie is not emo, so I’m pretty sure you need to remove that. Indie is more like Noe Venable, Eliott Smith, Wilco, et cetera.