What Your Music Says About You  

sexyblokeinlincs 55M
337 posts
1/15/2006 7:12 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

What Your Music Says About You

Saw this in todays Sunday Times, and as a punk rock music lover, in a world of non-punk rock music lovers (who normally feel I should 'grow up') was quite pleased....

Our favourite tunes define us and let others know what we are like, say psychologists. John Harlow and Laura St Quinton report

For four years Liz and Jeff Olson were neighbours, polite and distant, until one day Liz sneaked a peek at the landscape gardener’s record collection and realised they could make beautiful music together.
“I thought we had nothing in common until I saw a CD by Jellyfish (an obscure Beatlesque pop group) which I thought no one else had – well, that was a revelation that lead to us getting together,” said a still astonished Liz, who works for Newark council in Nottinghamshire.

Liz is not alone in making life-changing decisions based on cultural ephemera. In his 1995 novel High Fidelity, Nick Hornby’s alter ego Rob Fleming recommends always judging a potential mate by their record covers.

Some scoffed, but a forthcoming study in the journal Psychological Science suggests that Hornby and the Olsons were spot-on.

Samuel Gosling, a British psychologist at the University of Texas, and Peter Jason Rentfrow, an American teaching at Cambridge, have identified links between taste and personality. Or what your music says about you.

Among a battery of tests, volunteers created a CD of favourite songs. Strangers then judged what the anonymous compilers were like – extrovert, adventurous cheery, brainy, melancholic and so on.

The CD proved significantly more reliable than other ways of quickly assessing people such as by looks, clothes or taste in films or politics. The Olsons, for instance, love punk, which the Rentfrow-Gosling index equates with outgoing social personalities.

The index is so focused that, last week, Rentfrow was able to match Tony Blair and Ruby Wax, the comedian and writer, to records they selected for Desert Island Discs. Blair’s mixture of classical (Debussy) and rock standards (the Beatles and Free) pointed to a “conventional rebel” while Wax’s choices of Mussorgsky, the Doors and West Side Story signalled a “loud” personality, said Rentfrow.

The psychologists also monitored courting couples’ first six weeks of conversation, and discovered that they used music to “check each other out” nearly twice as much as books, television or sport.

While the men tended to use musical references to establish themselves as belonging to a particular “tribe”, and the women more often choose it to reflect moods, in both cases it had the effect of communicating their character types. “Nick Hornby was right: the music does not lie,” said Rentfrow.

“What surprised us is the truth behind many of the stereotypes. If you like country or choral music, you are likely to be more plainly spoken than if you are into music without strong lyrics such as electronica.

“But we were surprised to find that, despite their love of aggressive music, and heavy metal fans were typically more shy than many other music lovers. I am not sure they want us to know that, though.”

Some examples:

Personality type: reflective. If you like Mozart, you are more likely than most to also enjoy jazz and choral music, the countryside and theatre

Personality type: energetic and liberal. Also 'Blurticious', or most likely to nervously blurt out opinions. An 'early adaptor' of fashion and technology

Personality type: intense with a rebellious streak, a sensation-seeker. You may also appreciate alternative rock and some heavy metal music

Personality type: extrovert, dramatic. Three times more likely to attempt suicide than other music-lovers

Personality type: upbeat, honest and conventional. Strong fixed opinions. You may also enjoy Top 20 pop music and film soundtracks

Personality type: complex, stable. Likely to be educated and politically middle of the road, a conservationist and recycler. Also enjoys the blues

So there you go; Vive Le Rock!


caressmewell 55F

1/15/2006 9:56 am

How interesting...

helga_hansen 50F  
1987 posts
1/15/2006 11:01 am

Lol... I pity the person trying to "read" me... I have the most bizarre CD collection!!

Very interesting though... I shall have to remember this for the future... a sort of removing the wheat from the chaff!


Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

sexyblokeinlincs 55M
470 posts
1/17/2006 12:18 pm

So Helga what's in your collection?


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