Do you enjoy relaxing to classical music, or bopping along to hard rock? The music you love might say something about your personality, and vice versa.
We have all different tastes in music. Some people believe that the genres you’re most drawn to might say a lot about your personality.
Instead of turning to the zodiac to see if you’re compatible with someone, could your music preferences determine if your personality matches up with someone else’s?
Have you ever noticed that you enjoy listening to the same type of music as your friends? Evidence suggests it’s not a coincidence.
You may be able to look at someone’s Spotify favorites and get a glimpse of their personality. Or, you might be able to figure out what music they’re into based on their personality traits.
What does the research say?
A 2018 study looked at people’s music-related Facebook likes and music listening habits. The researchers found that the participants’ musical preferences predicted some personality traits.
The researchers looked at how people’s musical tastes compared with their personality based on the Big Five personality traits:
- openness to experience
- conscientiousness, or how responsible, reliable, and self-controlled you are
- extraversion, ranging from outgoing to introverted
- agreeableness, or how friendly you are
- neuroticism, a measure of how nervous or sensitive you are
The researchers showed that people with higher openness were more likely to enjoy sophisticated music (complex, dynamic genres like classical, opera, and jazz), and to dislike mellow music (slow, relaxing genres like R&B and soft rock) and contemporary music (rap, electronic, dance, Europop and Latin).
This suggests that people whose personalities make them more open to new experiences are more likely to enjoy classical music and jazz, but less likely to enjoy R&B and electronic music.
People who scored higher in trait extraversion were more likely to have a preference for “unpretentious” music. This included relaxing acoustic music, like country and folk genres.
Meanwhile, higher agreeableness was linked with a general liking of music.
Further to this, a 2022 study analyzed the musical preferences of over 350,000 people in more than 50 countries and six continents and found the link between musical preference and personality to be universal. That means music and personality are intertwined, no matter where you live.
The researchers found that people with higher extraversion had stronger reactions to upbeat, rhythmic, and electronic music. They also found that people with higher openness preferred sophisticated music, such as improvisational and instrumental tracks.
- Mellow: smooth and relaxing music.
- Urban: rhythm and percussion music, such as rap and funk.
- Sophisticated: complex and inspirational music, such as classical and jazz.
- Intense: loud, energetic music, including heavy metal and punk.
- Campestral: a mix of styles, including country and singer-songwriter music .
Personality traits alone don’t account for musical preferences, though. An older 2010 study involving data from over 36,000 participants suggests other factors also play a role in musical taste, including:
- social class and income
- cultural background
Which of these main types would you fit into? Does your personality type match up with your favorite genre of music?
Do you feel like your personality matches the type of music you listen to? Several studies suggest there may be an association between music preferences and personality.
But, your personality isn’t the only thing that influences your music choice. Your age, gender, self-esteem, and even how much your earn may also play a role in influencing your musical tastes.
If you want to find out about your personality type, consider Psych Central’s Personality Test.