Everyone loves music. But not everyone loves the same kind of music. Have you ever wondered why you might love rap, but your brother can’t stand it? Or you might love pop and your friend hates it? Did you know that your taste in music actually reveals a lot about your personality?

Most people listen to music depending on the mood. For example at a birthday party in a fancy restaurant you might have classical music in the background but at a house party you’d have Sho Madjozi. So it depends on the situation and circumstances. But, how about your personal playlist? What do your top ten songs say about you?

A university in Scotland, the Heriot-Watt University, looked at more than 36,000 participants from all over the world regarding the types of music they listen to and what it says about their personality. The results of this study showed the following.

Pop Music:
Pop music was the most popular genre in the current era. If you’re a fan of what’s currently trending, waiting for the top 40 hits on KFM, research suggests you tend to be extroverted, honest, and conventional. Pop music lovers are hardworking and have high self-esteem, but they tend to be less creative.

Rap and Hip Hop:
In spite of the stereotype that rap lovers are more aggressive or violent, researchers have actually found no such link. Rap fans do tend to have high self-esteem and are usually outgoing. So you can be playing that Eminem in your ears, but could still be a calm and quiet person.

Country Music:
Country music fans are typically hardworking, conventional, and outgoing. While country songs are often centred on heartbreak, people who gravitate towards this genre tend to be very emotionally stable. They also tend to be more conservative and not very open to new things.

Rock and Heavy Metal:
You might think that rock and heavy metal fans are violent and aggressive, but research found that metal heads are in fact generally quite gentle. They also are creative, but often introverted and suffer from low self-esteem.

Indie Music
Fans of the indie genre are typically introverted, intellectual, and creative. According to researchers, they also tend to be less hardworking and less gentle. Passivity, anxiousness, and low self-esteem are other common personality characteristics.

Dance Music
According to researchers, people who prefer dance music are usually outgoing and assertive. They are generally open to new things and experiences. People who prefer fast-paced electronic music also tend to rank low on gentleness.

Classical Music
Classical music lovers are typically more introverted but are also at ease with themselves and the world around them. They are creative and have a good sense of self-esteem.

Jazz, Blues and Soul Music
People who enjoy jazz, blues, or soul music were found to be more extroverted with high self-esteem. They also tend to be very creative, intelligent, and at ease.

Music related to brain process:
Another study found that the types of music you enjoy may be connected to the ways your brain processes information. Researchers suggest that there are two ways of responding to the world: empathizing and systemisers.

Empathizing involves being able to respond to the world based on social cues. Empathizers were more likely to enjoy mellow but emotionally rich contemporary music, which ranged from indie-rock to country to folk. Empathizers, who are often drawn more to creative careers or those that involve working with people, are more likely to prefer softer music that evokes strong emotional responses.

Systemizing involves interacting based upon pre-set conceptions of how people think they should respond. The systemisers are more likely to prefer complex, intense, energetic music that was upbeat and positive. The systemisers, who researchers suggest tend to follow career paths in math and science, are more drawn to the structural complexity of the music, often liking classical, jazz, and world music.

Other factors that play a role
Although our personality can have a huge influence in our choice of music genre, it is however not the only reason for our music preference.

The key psychological functions that music serves include improving performance, stimulating curiosity and imagination, and amplifying certain moods or emotions. Other factors including gender, age, social class, and cultural background also play important roles in musical taste.

A fun experiment to prove this theory is to check your playlist, the next time you create one or listen to one, ask yourself if it is because of your current mood or your personality. It is good to listen to a variety of music, this has a lasting impact on the brain, such as helping with your memory and also helps to be more open-minded and diverse.


To find out how music can heal you, click here.

Tell us: What do you think of the study that was done? Do you think it is accurate or do you think it generalises? What can you relate to?