What your music taste says about you

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In a recent Psychology Today article based on Sam Gosling's book, Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, different types of personality were used to account for different tastes in the arts. As often is the case with general interest articles discussing human behaviour, the nuances of research findings were lost in the shuffle, or buried in the last few paragraphs that may be too late to counteract the conclusions made on the first 8/10 of the article. Half way through the article and the inner rebel in you may have come up with a laundry list of qualities about yourself that would make exceptions to their restrictive categories. Alternately, it may shoot itself in protest of the outrageous conclusions being made about who you are based on what you like, or what people maybe based on what they like (because you are the advocate for the people).

Witness the following claim:

Less open people, meanwhile, may be stuck on the tastes of their youth, watching nostalgic movies on Nick at Night and listening to classic rock.

If that doesn't rile you up, you are just way too accepting.

Of all the categories discussed (Taste Hunters, Thrill Seekers, Self Medicators, and Art as decoration-ers), I found most commonalities with Thrill Seekers, especially this little bit about extroverts:
Another hallmark of extroversion is the need to connect with others, which drives extroverts to rock concerts, dance clubs, and movie theaters—environments that are both highly social and highly stimulating. That's also why extroverts particularly enjoy music with vocals. "They're drawn to the human voice," explains Gosling. "They want to connect."

However, being also part taste hunter and part self medicator means that I do listen to and love some instrumental music - I just don't find consistent pleasure in vocal-less music as someone who is a bit more introvert might.

And this is just the kind of nuance that got lost in the article (the author tried to introduce some reservations at the end, rather unsuccessfully): people are not just one thing and never the others, and that these categories are "tendencies" rather than absolutes. I, too, as many extroverts would surely attest to, can enjoy character development in films as much as any introvert would, especially if said introverts have very little interest in films as art compared to more serious film enthusiasts like me. It was a bit contradictory to assume that introverts would be more concerned with character development while extroverts would be more taken with explosions, in light of the definition of an extrovert as someone energized by people.

As for self medicators, who hadn't turned to art to help alter their mood (interesting that therapy came in dead last as something people would turn to in order to help with their mood - therapists so need better PR)? The exact songs may differ, but even my mother - not one to indulge in music - has a mood-elevating song. This is not to dismiss the category, for there are people whose preference for the arts to soothe and affirm their being and identity is stark clear. Rather, my point is that these categories should not be held as absolutes to the point of either complete conviction or complete dismissal. I may be a neurotic person, but I'd rather plant a tree than pollute my space with "inspirational" maxims like "until you spread your wings, you'll never know how far you can fly."



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