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Music and Personality

Alexander Webb
Alexander Webb – The Wandering Writer

We all want perfect focus – but it seems so elusive. Some days it seems like everyone else is getting work done, but we can’t seem to even get started. Let’s look at a few tricks to improve our focus and get on the right track.

Some of us love dance music and, once the DJ starts spinning, won’t stop till the club closes, the sun rises, or our friends drag us home. Yet others prefer a quiet night in at home, listening to acoustic or jazz. Not only are Jazz and EDM very different musical styles, they also reflect different personalities. At least, that is how we stereotype people. But is it true? Are classical listeners just as likely to party, or is someone who likes slow music genuinely less likely to party? Let’s see how music reveals your personality type.


The Stereotypes Are True
One study found that observers formed “accurate” impressions of others based simply on their music preferences. No wonder “what type of music do you like” is such a popular first date question.

Your Favorite Song is Emotionally Based
One study found that while a person’s favorite song of the moment can change frequently, their favorite songs of all time are linked to “intense emotional events in listeners’ lives”.


But Some People Are More Emotional Than Others…
One way professionals analyze personality is looking at tendencies towards empathizing or systemizing. Empathetic people want to understand emotions and feelings, while systemizers prefer to understand rational systems.

…And It Shows In Their Musical Taste
A study showed that people who are more empathetic prefer listening to “R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres” while systemizers prefer “punk, heavy metal, and hard rock.” Not too surprising – emotional people like softer music, while less emotional people want it intense.


Country Music Might Be Dangerous…
One study showed that the more country music played on the airwaves, the higher the white suicide rate in the local area. This effect is not related to poverty, divorce, or other issues. However, despite its reputation as dark music, studies have not found that heavy metal listeners are less well adjusted than average.

So remember, the next time you meet someone, be sure to ask him or her what type of music they like. You just might learn a whole lot about them.

Alexander WebbAlex Webb is a traveller who has visited over 30 countries and lived in Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, and the United States. He has written for National Geographic Books and co-authored a book published by the Financial Times Press. When he’s not travelling or writing, he enjoys playing guitar and writing songs. Follow him on instagram at @alxndrwb