Personality and Musical Preferences
What your music preferences say about you
Are your musical preferences an accurate representation of who you are?
Before starting my presentation, use this link to take Rentfrow's music and personality test. This test will give you a basic idea about what your music preference says about your personality. Use that information and compare it to the information provided below.
Here are my results if you are interested in seeing what my music preference says about me:
The relationship between personality and music is important.
Music is everywhere. It is in the movies we watch, the advertisements we are exposed to and serves as a popular source of entertainment. For the typical American individual, "background and intentional music listening add up to more than five hours" of musical exposure a day (Levitin 2011). Companies use music to sell their products. Therapists use music for mood enhancement and emotion regulation. Teachers use music to maintain alertness and vigilance in the classroom. Individual’s use music as a form of self-expression. Music affects all areas of a person’s life. It can have an impact on how an individual thinks, acts, feels, or behaves. Music is a "ubiquitous social phenomenon (Rentfrow 2003)".
Music can provide a window into an individual's personality.
When studying personality, music can serve two purposes, it can help reinforce how someone sees themselves or it can communicate the way in which we wish to be seen by others (Rentfrow 2003). People enjoy listening to music that reflects their personality and self-affirms their identity. For example, extroverts take pleasure in socializing with others and as a result they tend to spend more time at parties and other social gatherings where upbeat/conventional and energetic/rhythmic music is played. As a result, extroverts will listen exclusively to upbeat/conventional and energetic/rhythmic music because it reflects who they are as social butterflies. Individuals seek musical genres that reinforce their own self views and accurately depict who they are socially. Music can also serve as a form of self-reflection and identity discovery. Individuals will recognize perceived qualities in themselves that are associated with the genre they prefer serving as a “vehicle for identity development and exploration (Rentfrow 2012)”. Music is embedded into an individual's social identity making it an innate part of their personality.
Music serves as a form of social communication.
Musical preference serves as form of self-expression. It is a way of communicating an individual's personality as well as their values, attitudes, and beliefs to others. Music serves as an “identity badge to broadcast information about ourselves to others (Rentfrow 2012)”. Knowing what music preference an individual has reveals a great deal of insight into what they find important. For example, individuals who enjoy reflective and complex music tend to value education and being open to new ideas while people that enjoy energetic and rhythmic music are usually more extroverted and tend to value social interaction. Music informs others of who we are, who we want to be, and how we want to be seen in a social context. It is how we connect with and be understood by the world around us.
"Music is used to identify oneself as a part of a group, make life-long friends, or even choose an intimate partner (Carpentier 2003)."
Individual differences in music preferences:
Music choices are shaped, formed, and crystallized during adolescence. Music preference is impacted in large by our personalities. Everyone's personality is different. There are a variety of individual differences in music selection due to the vast differences in an individual’s opinions, values, and lifestyles. People find music that reflects who they are as a person. Each person is different; therefore their musical preferences are different. Even though musical choices are different, they tend to remain stable throughout an individual's life.
The different dimensions of musical preference:
In 2003, Peter Rentfrow published his work on personality and its influence on musical preference. In his article, he outlined the four basic types of musical classification: reflective/complex, intense/rebellious, upbeat/conventional, and energetic/rhythmic. There have been numerous music and personality studies that have used the four genre system of identifying musical types. In 2012, Rentfrow revised his musical genre criteria. He concluded that there are five different music-preference dimensions instead of the original four: mellow, unpretentious, sophisticated, intense, and contemporary. There has not been sufficient experimentation using the five new categories of musical preference, so for the purpose of this project, the first four genres of music were used instead of the five newer dimensions.
The reflective and complex genre of music facilitates self observation and is structurally complex. This genre is one of the more sophisticated musical styles that emphasis self reflection and cognition. Classical, jazz, folk, and blues would all be considered complex and reflective forms of music. This genre of music is generally the lowest rated form of music simply because there are fewer individuals that enjoy listening to it.
Common personality traits shared by individuals who enjoy reflective and complex music:
Intense and Rebellious
Metallica - Enter Sandman by Fahmi Dkhil
Personality traits and Intense/Rebellious music
Controversy surrounding Intense and rebellious music
Upbeat and Conventional
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift
How does personality relate to upbeat and conventional music?
Energetic and Rhythmic
Smash by Landis & Corporate Slackrs by House.NET
Personality characteristic associated with preference for energetic and rhythmic music:
Music is an important part of everyday life. It affects all aspects of life from emotion regulation to group identification. It communicates the way in which we wish to be seen by others as well as the way in which we see ourselves. Music serves as a way of identifying who you are and who you want to become. Individual personality traits are made evident through our music choices. Music is built into who we are as a social, emotional, and physical human being. Personality and music choice are two concepts that depend on one another.