The type of tunes you choose to listen to can say a lot about your personality, how you act and how old you are.
Research, carried out by Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University in the UK, has suggested classical music fans are shy, while heavy metal aficionados are actually gentle and at ease with themselves.
One of the most surprising things was the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal – they’re both creative and easygoing but not outgoing, Prof North said.
The University of Melbourne’s music therapy tutor, and Australia graduate researcher at La Trobe University, Imogen Clark, said music stimulated the primitive part of the brain, changing moods and influencing behaviours.
“That’s the cheeky way that music gets in and does its work, and we’re not even aware of it,” Prof Clark told The New Daily.
“The cerebral component helps us choose and dismiss music, and obviously people will very much describe themselves by what music they like.”
Hey, big spender
Studies also suggest music could lead you to drink more, spend more or even act unethically.
“If you have ever caught yourself listening to a synth muzak version of Let it Be in your local supermarket and wondered why they’ve chosen to play this, I could give you a few good reasons,” Prof North said in the study.
“If you play slow music in supermarkets then people tend to browse more slowly and look at more products. As a result they spend an average of 10 to 20 per cent more.”
Does your personality match your favourite music genre?
Prof North said his research confirmed a solid link between personality and music style.
“We have known for decades that people who like rock and rap are rebellious and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated, but for the first time research has shown that personality is also linked to a wide range of musical styles,” Prof North said about his study.
“Other major factors include age and social class, which together give a pretty good picture of an individual’s likely musical predilections.”
Rock ‘n roll: High self-esteem, very creative, hard-working and at ease with themselves, but not very kind or generous.
Blues: High self-esteem and creative, outgoing and at ease with themselves.
Heavy metal: Very creative and at ease with themselves, but not very outgoing or hard-working.
Rap: Outgoing with high self-esteem.
Indie: Low self-esteem and not very hard-working, but creative.
Country and western: Very hard-working and outgoing.
Dance: Creative and outgoing, but not very kind or generous.
Reggae: High self-esteem and creative, outgoing, kind, generous and at ease with themselves, but not very hard-working.
Classical: High self-esteem, creative and at ease with themselves, but not outgoing.
The other impressive benefits of music
A separate study conducted in 2007, Personality and music: Can traits explain how people use music in everyday life?, showed that music was associated with three main psychological functions.
They included; helping to improve performance, helping to stimulate curiosity, and helping to bring out certain emotions that the listener desires.
Prof Clark, who is also a registered music therapist at Austin Health in Melbourne, said music was a powerful tool in helping people recover, relax and communicate.
In her recent research, involving a sample of 56 adults with an average age of 67, Prof Clark found the group was attracted to nostalgic tunes when recovering from injury.
“Older people liked older music that reminded them of their earlier adult age, memories of when they were strong, young, fit and healthy. That gave them confidence,” Prof Clark told The New Daily.
“Younger people tend to like music with a high tempo and a strong beat with a diverse range of pitch.”
She said the most popular songs chosen by the patients were: Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen by Abba and Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival.