Most people think that the sound of the music they listen to is the personality of the listener. So, it goes that rock/metal fans are crazy, hot-tempered and impetuous. Wrong! Research conducted by psychologists Jason Rentfrow and Sam Gosling and studies conducted by researchers at Heriot-Watt University with over 36,000 participants seem to sing a different tune.
Rentfrow and Gosling have, in fact, gone ahead and divided the music-listening masses into 4 broad categories: reflective and complex (blues, jazz, classical and folk music), intense and rebellious (rock, alternative and heavy metal music), upbeat and conventional (country, sound track, religious and pop) and energetic and rhythmic (rap/hip-hop, soul/funk, and electronica/dance music).
Here is a breakdown based on genres to help you understand what your tastes are saying about you.
Rock / Heavy Metal
As we mentioned in the intro, there is a perception that people who listen to heavy metal and rock are aggressive, guzzle beer by the gallons, ride Harley Davidsons and wear a lot of black t-shirts and bandanas. Now, black t-shirts with skulls may be ubiquitous rock/metal fan-preferred gear, but the listeners themselves tend to be surprisingly gentle and even creative. And they are often introverted. Who woulda thought!
People who like pop tend to be honest, extroverted and conventional. They are not exactly creative, but hey, they are hard-working, easygoing and have high self-esteem. That’s not bad, we’d say.
There is a popular joke about country music. Question: What do you get when you play country music backwards? Answer: You get back your wife, your dog, your truck…We found that one quite rib-tickling, honestly! But surprisingly, people who like all the heartbreak in country music themselves tend to be emotionally stable, hardworking, outgoing and conventional.
Rap and Hip/Hop
Rap lovers tend to have high self-esteem and are usually outgoing. We know, the lyrics and antics of 50 Cent and Dr. Dre kinda make you believe that rap fans must be aggressive and full of cuss words. Well, dat just ain’t troo, yo!
Indie music covers all those lesser known bands with a local following and independent artists who just do their own thing. People who seek them out on YouTube and the Internet are introverted, intellectual and creative. They are a mixed bag, though, with passivity, anxiousness and low self-esteem putting in an appearance. They are also less gentle and less hard-working. Hmmm.
Jazz, Blues, Folk and Soul
You enjoy blues, jazz, folk or soul music? The verdict is you are more extraverted, have high self-esteem, tend to be very creative, intelligent and at ease. Ni-ice, eh? You can tell that to all those rock and pop fans who judge you a little.
Are your Ipod, smartphone and car all extensions of a discotheque? People who LOVE peppy dance music tend to be outgoing and assertive. But, then you already knew that with the amount of partying you do, didn’t you?
There are those among us who believe that Vivaldi and Verdi are Italian designer brands and Rachmaninoff is a brand of vodka. But if you know better—that they are names of famous classical music composer then—then we take it you are a fan? You tend to be, according to research, more introverted, but are also at ease with who you are and the world around you in general. Also, you are creative and have a good sense of self-esteem.