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Personality and Music Preference Personality and Music Preference 1 Personality and Musical…

Personality and Music Preference

Personality and Music Preference 1 Personality and Musical Preference
Libertine Palaganas
Azusa Pacific University/University College PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 2 Abstract
This research explores the correlation between personality and music preference. A
sample of 17 individuals were surveyed using “Short Test on Music Preferences-Revised
(Stomp-R)” rated participant’s music preference on a wider scale, “Reflective and Complex,
Intense and Rebellious, Upbeat and Conventional, and Energetic and Rhythmic (Rentfrow, P.J.,
& Gosling, S.D. 2013). Per Rentfrow and Gosling, an individual’s cognizance on the type of
music he/she prefers to listen to can surprisingly lead to predictions about one’s personality. To
study the correlation between the personality and music preference, Pearson’s moment produce
was also used. Results presented a significant affirmative relationship between personality traits
and music preference. In the correlation between the personality dimensions. A preference for
Reflective and Complex affirms with openness to Experience. Upbeat and Conventional
correlated to Openness to Experience. Intense and Rebellious music negatively correlated to
Conscientiousness. PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 3 Researchers have studied music and concluded that an individual’s preference for music
genre is closely linked to her/his personality. Rentfrow and Gosling(2003) conducted a study
among college students on “Lay beliefs about the significance of music and discovered that
people believe that the music they listen to delivers information about who they are. Per the
theory of music preferences (Rentfrow and Gosling 2003), personality traits, cognitive abilities
and self-concept are three important factors involved in creating the musical preferences of the
individual. Trying to identify the underlying patterns of listening, Rentfrow and Gosling (2003)
singled out, by means of factor analysis of the data on the degree of liking different music
examples, four dimensions of musical preference: a reflective-complex (e.g.blues, jazz, classical
and folk music), intense-rebellious (e.g. rock, alternative, heavy metal music), upbeatconventional (e.g. country, film, religious and pop music) and energetic-rhythmic (e.g. rap/hip
hop, soul/funk, electronic/dance music). Their research strongly influenced the theory of musical
preferences and the relationship between personality traits and musical preferences. (Dobrota, S.,
Reic, E. 2015). Then I searched for the functions that individual participants acquired to their
preferred music and its influence.
The first person who theorized that preferences for certain types of Music was Raymond
Cattell, who indicated that music reveals key information about the unconscious aspects of
personality (Cattell & Anderson, 1953; Cattell & Saunders, 1954; Rentfrow and Gosling 2003).
Research study also show that, individuals who study music had an extensive impact on their
music preferences. In a study done by researchers from UK on “Uses of music” has substantiate
that certain Music Preference provided an empirical evidence of higher cognitive ability
(Chamoro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2007). However, the most extensive and detailed research on
the psychology behind music preferences was conducted by Rentfrow & Gosling (2003). For PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 4 example, The authors conducted their research on a large sample of undergraduate college
students in the US using Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis starting by shortening
music end to discuss music. This concluded in the list of fourteen and later revised to 23 genres
and sixty-six sub-genres. On this led to the four broader music categories namely, Reflective and
Complex, Intense and Rebellious, Upbeat and Conventional, and Energetic and Rhythmic
(Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003).
A questionnaire survey of 17 participants (11 females and 6 males) were asked to write
down on a paper using the Short Test of Music Preferences (STOMP) by Rentfrow and Gosling
2013, the questionnaire was distributed via paper survey and were informed that there will be no
compensation monetarily or in kind for their time. The participants were mostly co-worker’s,
family, friends and three random individuals. Participants that were excluded were individuals
twenty-one and under and over sixty years of age. Educational Qualification comprise of
minimum undergraduate. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to measure the relationship
of music and personality.
The quantitative study of respondents filled up a survey form using Short Test of Music
Preferences scale (STOMP) Rentfrow & Gosling, 2013). I did not conduct any online
questionnaire as I do not have facebook or social media account for personal reasons. I also
asked the participants in the survey to write down their age and gender at the back of the consent
form they signed. The Big Five Inventory was used to assess their personality. The Music
Preferences are pertained to as follows: (1) Reflective and Complex signifies preference for
Classical, Blues, Folk, and Jazz. (2) Intense and Rebellious signifies preference to Alternative,
Rock, and Heavy Metal. (3) Upbeat and Conventional signifies preference to Country music, PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 5 Religious, Pop, and Sountracks/theme songs. (4) Energetic and Rhythmic signifies preference to
Dance/Electronica, Rap/hip-hop, Soul and funk (Rentfrow, & Gosling, 2013). A 7-point scale
with 1 representing “Strongly Disagree” and 7 representing “Strongly Agree” was also used to
determine their scoring. A higher score signifies their main preference in music. Results and Discussion
In this study, I found out that the participants accurately judge their individual levels of
extraversion, creativity and open-mindedness after answering the questionnaire without even
listening to their particular type of music genre. Everyone listens to different type of music but it
does not necessarily mean we all listen to the same songs. Some respondents ages 26-28
undergraduates (23.53%) like listening to rock and Heavy metal loud enough to raise their heart
beat and consider this type of music exhilarating, intense but not necessarily rebellious.
Participants ages 30-54 (48%) who indicated their preference to classical and blues, folk and
religious considered themselves reflective but not necessarily complex are all highly educated
graduate and doctorate degree holder.
There may be problem in my research, Perhaps the external validity, due to the small
sample to generate a more valid generalization of the preferences of music related to their
personality. I did the study in the hospital where I work with lots of high achieving individuals
and educationally focused persons some would not be bothered to participate in the survey but
politely declined. I concluded that there is low in Internal Validity in the study because of the
high success indicated by the participants on what they factually like in music. The participants
also indicated that music helps them navigate through their daily activities as they listen to their
favorite music. I tried to have a balance of ratio between males and females, but I received more PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 6 answers from female participants. The female participants which comprised 65% percent of this
research estimated that the time they spent listening to music is when they are at home cooking
or when alone in their offices and 35% of the male participants stated that they listen to music
mostly when driving and relaxation to induce sleep
. According to Smith, R. (2012 “There is now a growing body of literature stemming
from a range of neurobiological studies showing how emotional responses to music have a direct
effect on our hormone levels.” Melatonin, a hormone that is naturally found in our body is
responsible in inducing sleep and increases cortisol level to reduce stress. (Smith, 2012).
Listening to music also reduces the stress levels of individuals when relaxation was a stated; The
reason why they listen to music in solitary listening. However, the potential benefits of stressreducing effect of music is when individuals listen to music in the presence of others (Linneman,
A., Strahler, J., U.M. 2016). Rentfrow and Gosling (2003) stated that “listening to music is the
top-reason why people use music as a leisure-time activity.” Moreover, music is also used as a
coping mechanism to navigate the daily problems and hassles of life. In addition, researchers try
to identify the cognitive and behavioral dimensions of personality in the lyrics of music genres
by asking what kind of actions and schemes are evident in the songs. Studies like this will help
researchers understand the relationship of music genres in a scientific way (Neuman, Y.,
Perlovsky, l. Cohen, Y., Livhits, D. 2016, p11).
“The point of this research, (i.e., rhythmically and energetically), according to Peterson,
P. (2011) is that, psychologist who conducts the research insufficiently study what people
actually do. He stated that “young people – and the older ones, too – often listen to music, and
music preferences should be as important a topic of concern to psychologists as are the abstract
“processes” like memory that we usually study (Rozin, 2006).” PERSONALITY AND MUSIC PREFERENCE 7 Everybody listens to music but not everyone ne likes to listen to the same songs, and it
has been proven by researchers that music influences individual’s positively and negatively in
part due to their psychological qualities. Demographic variables such as age, gender, and
educational makeup play an important role. In recent studies the effect music on personality is
related on the demographics. In the research conducted by Rentfrow and Gosling, suggest that
music is an effective mode for communicating information about an individual’s personality.
Thus, learning about what kind of music one listens to is an indicative clue of who they are.   




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