Music and personality: what is their connection?

Each urban tribe or ideological movement of youth is established on the basis of certain characteristic signs: aesthetics, certain ethical principles more or less outlined, but above all certain well-defined musical tastes.

The beat generation danced to jazz, the hippie movement listened to 60s folk and rock at festivals like Woodstock, the yuppies with Love Over Gold by Dire Straits. Goths and emos quiver with dark vocals. And these are just a few examples. Music that has marked a generation, or music that a youth social movement has made its own.

Music and personality: a real couple?

Despite what we usually believe, music does not explain our way of beingWe use music to identify us with vital and political positions that we consider most valid, but there is no strong connection between this identification and our actions.

disassemble clichés

Let’s take an example: the harsh aesthetic and violence around heavy metal doesn’t match the personality of its fans: many of them are kind, peaceful people and even with a tendency introversion, as highlighted by a study conducted at Heriot-Watt University, through a survey to which 37,000 people responded via the Internet (North, AC & Hargreaves, DJ, 2005).

This is how he says it Christopher Drösser in his book The seduction of music:

“Respondents set their preferences for over 100 styles of music (from classical to soul) that in theory reflected their personality traits. These traits were, for example: low or high self-esteem, creative / uncreative, introverted / extroverted, docile / aggressive, hardworking or vague. “

We give more or less credibility to the studio, the truth is that by linking the musical style to the personality we fall into generalizations and inaccuracies. If we did, we would be playing a cheap demagogic arena and using the prejudices imposed by the media and youth TV series.

Curious coincidences: the “heavy” and the “classic” are alike

From the survey devised by North and Hargreaves, it might be noted that thethe personality of heavy metal fans is very similar to that of classical music fans, Although his study specifies that the latter have better self-esteem than the former, on average. So, although musical styles differ greatly, not to mention the attire offered by each musical style, classics and hairstyles could be classified under the same psychological profile.

Another research conducted at the University of Queensland, Australia, led by F. Baker and W. Bor (2008), Support the above conclusionsThus, excluding that music or musical style plays a causal role in antisocial behavior, eg. They suggest, however, that identification with a musical style is an indicator of emotional vulnerability.

Preference for musical styles and personality

The North and Hargreaves study published the following data:

  • Music lovers Blue they have great self-esteem, they are creative, kind and outgoing
  • Those who prefer music Jazz and the Soul they get the same adjectives as blues fans
  • They get results similar to those above those who prefer the Rap and the Operapera
  • Subjects who prefer the classical music they are the same as above except they are introverts
  • Lovers of Country they are hardworking and extroverts
  • Those who like the Reggae they were reported as somewhat vague, and also creative, kind, outgoing, and with great self-esteem
  • Those who like to listen to music Dance they are creative and outgoing, but not overly nice
  • The crazy people of music Independent they have low self-esteem, are creative, hostile and hardworking
  • Music fans Rocky I Heavy metal they have low self-esteem, they are creative, hardworking, introverted and kind

It should be remembered that these data were obtained by crossing data from personality tests and musical preferences, and they only indicate statistically significant trends; correlations. Obviously, this does not mean that listening to certain musical styles “transforms” our personality.

Personality: a complex and multicausal concept

The psychic state is therefore a priori, and from there each individual is conquered by this music which corresponds to his personality. Sometimes listening to music with depressing melodies or lyrics in someone’s ear doesn’t mean it’s a trigger to depress a lot of their listeners, but in turn sometimes that kind of music helps them get over it. the moments.

Most people stick to the musical styles they listened to between the ages of 14 and 26., And this is due to the fact that youth marks our identities, which will no longer be so plastic for the rest of our lives.

  • We recommend that you read “What music do smart people listen to?”

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