You are what you listen to. That is the conclusion of a new study conducted by Adrian North and his team from Curtin University.

Recently published in Psychology of Music, North reported there is a link between musical preference and both personality traits and political orientation.

Surveying 157 Australian students aged between 17 and 55, researchers gathered information about musical tastes, personality, and political orientation.

The study found a significant relationship between musical preference and personality, based on the Big Five model. However, aspects of personality traits, and not personality domains, were found to be more predictive in establishing a person’s musical preference.

A preference for rhythmic music, such as rap, hip-hop, reggae, and R&B, was associated with specific aspects of agreeableness, but not as a broad domain. Rhythmic music fans tended to score high for traits related to compassion, but lower on politeness.

In terms of political orientation, those who preferred more intense music, such as punk, rock, metal, and indie, and ‘established’ music like jazz, blues and classical, were more likely to be liberal-leaning. Preference for these genres was associated with a person being more likely to advocate for social change and equality.

The study concludes that aspects of openness, intelligence, compassion, politeness, assertiveness, and political orientation are unique predictors of personal musical tastes, and vice versa. However, personality aspects, rather than complete personality domains, were most predictive of musical preference.

Keywords; Music, personality traits, politics