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Experts Reveal What Your Music Taste Says About Your Personality

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Experts Reveal What Your Music Taste Says About Your Personality

Experts have revealed just what it shows about your personality if you'd rather hum along to some jazz, bop to a bit of pop, or throw yourself into some rock.

A study carried out by researchers from the University of Cambridge, incorporating 350,000 people from 50 different countries, has uncovered some strong parallels between preferred music style and personality.

Participants were required to listen to a range of 'Western', popular music genres before stating their preferences.

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Dr David Greenberg, who led the research, expressed the team's 'surprise [...] at just how much these patterns between music and personality replicated across the globe'.

Red Hot Chili Peppers on stage (Alamy)
Red Hot Chili Peppers on stage (Alamy)

Those who prefer the smooth tunes and jazz music of musicians such as Miles David had much more 'sophisticated' and open personalities, The Telegraph reports, while pop singers such as Ed Sheeran proved popular among those who are more outgoing and loud.

'People may be divided by geography, language and culture, but if an introvert in one part of the world likes the same music as introverts elsewhere, that suggests that music could be a very powerful bridge. Music helps people to understand one another and find common ground,' Dr Greenberg explained.

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A clear parallel was uncovered between specific genres and music artists and their links to certain personality traits.

More contemporary tunes with a strong rhythm were apparently preferred by those living near the Equator, however there were international variations to this finding.

Elsewhere, those who are fans of Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, and Norah Jones, and more 'mellow' music, were suggested to have personalities that are more sympathetic, as well as being team players and 'agreeable'.

Ed Sheeran (Alamy)
Ed Sheeran (Alamy)
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On the other hand, those who are more contemporary in their taste, liking artists such as Beyoncé and Justin Bieber along with electronic, rap, and pop music, were found to be more extroverted.

Religious and country music – noted by the study as being 'unpretentious' – was found to be liked by people who are organised, like structure and are 'conscientious'.

Fans of jazz and Jimi Hendrix, branded as 'sophisticated' music by the researchers, were found to be the creative, imaginative, and open.

However, those who prefer to bang out some 'intense' punk rock or grunge, such as The Clash, The Stooges or Green Day, were analysed as quite anxious, irrational, and anger suppressing individuals.

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Beyonce (Alamy)
Beyonce (Alamy)

Dr Greenberg reflected: 'We thought that neuroticism would have likely gone one of two ways, either preferring sad music to express their loneliness or preferring upbeat music to shift their mood. Actually, on average, they seem to prefer more intense musical styles, which perhaps reflects inner angst and frustration. That was surprising but people use music in different ways – some might use it for catharsis, others to change their mood.

'So there may be subgroups who score high on neuroticism who listen to mellow music for one reason and another subgroup which is more frustrated and perhaps prefer intense music to let off steam. We’ll be looking into that in more detail.'

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Music

Poppy Bilderbeck

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