Are one’s musical preferences a form of personality test? A new study conducted by the University Of Cambridge suggests that could be the case.
A large scale study encompassing 350,000 participants, collectively hailing from over 50 countries and six continents, showed a linkage between one’s stylistic preferences when it comes to music and their personality type. During the study, participants were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and complete an exercise in which they ranked popular songs.
Intriguingly, the linkage was found to be universal on a global scale, suggesting localized cultural influences were not confounding factors.
“Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Shivers’ is as likely to appeal to extraverts living in the UK as those living in Argentina or India,” according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Those with neurotic traits in the US are as likely to be into Nirvana’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ as people with a similar personality living in Denmark or South Africa.”
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Researchers recognize that musical tastes are not an immutable characteristic, and therefore are subject to change over time. Nonetheless, the results showed that music has cross-border unifying potential in ways previously not fully understood.
“People may be divided by geography, language and culture, but if an introvert in one part of the world likes the same music as introverts elsewhere, that suggests that music could be a very powerful bridge,” said David Greenberg, an honorary research associate at the University of Cambridge, in a statement. “Music helps people to understand one another and find common ground.”
You can access the full study here.