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Medical Mysteries of Music

Your taste in music really does say something about your personality. Take this test to see where you fit. [UPDATED WITH NEW INFO]

Gee, who knew? Duh. But hang on. There’s actually quite a bit more to this study.

People are always tricking to figure out what makes other people tick. Personality testing is a huge business–US$2 billion in America alone. And who isn’t quick to judge someone based on what kind of music they like? If I say “emo kid,” what comes to mind? There you go.

The University of Cambridge and Bar-Ilan University in Israel came up with an online quiz designed to ferret out details on the musical preferences and personalities of more than 285,000 people across 53 countries. There was also a website that saw 71,000 visitors from 34 countries rate clips of various types of music. So yeah, n=HUGE in this study. According to Inc., here’s what they found.

  • Extroverts tend to like danceable, upbeat, contemporary music.
  • People who are neurotic to some degree enjoy “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and other intense grunge tracks.
  • Conscientious types avoid the heavy stuff
  • Agreeable people tend to like mellow music. There was a strong correlation between liking mellow music and being agreeable.
  • People known for their openness tend to move towards sophisticated music.

The Inc article points out that this information could be helpful when it comes to hiring a new employee. True dat.

The full study can be found here.

UPDATE: Reader Vanessa found this study interesting so she started surfing around to find more. That’s when she found this (via This Day In Music Search – This Day In Music)

A study of more than 36,000 people from around the world concluded that musical tastes and personality type were closely related. The research, which was carried out by Professor Adrian North of Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh in the UK suggested classical music fans were shy, while heavy metal fans were gentle and at ease with themselves. Fans of Indie music had low self-esteem and were not hard working, fans of Rap music had high self-esteem and were outgoing. Country & Western fans were hardworking and outgoing, Reggae fans were creative but not hardworking, and fans of chart pop had high self-esteem, were not creative, but where hardworking and outgoing.

Huh. Now I’m confused.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

14 thoughts on “Your taste in music really does say something about your personality. Take this test to see where you fit. [UPDATED WITH NEW INFO]

  • I found the genre’s overly simplistic and the interpretation of such much the same. It’s all about their tiny little boxes. I’ve never been good about fitting into anyone’s boxes.

    This is a test for normal people who listen to top 40 music and to find the few outliers as they consider them.

  • Addendum, there are two tests here. The first is the link ‘the online quiz’ and that is the one I was referencing above. The next test is if you go on and follow the full study can be found ‘here’ link. Inside that one, is a similar but different set of questions where you will be played a series of music samples and then given a much more in-depth answer (much like the meyers-briggs) as to your personality rating. Mine was reasonably accurate but not entirely so.

    I have a feeling that the music samples are not the same for everyone and that they change based on what you choose along the way to confirm or deny the calculations.

  • Interestingly, I like all music and listen to music all the time, but according to this test I don’t like any kind of music very much.

    Also, I am apparently conservative, liberal, traditional, open to new experiences, easygoing, judgmental, critical, accepting, friendly, and aloof.

    I seem to like and dislike movies from all genres equally and my ideal evening would be to spend time alone and with friends while simultaneously engaging in physical activity and not doing much of anything at all.

    Seriously, this is a pathetic excuse for a test. Not sure whether my recommendation is to try again, or just give up, but I’m tending towards the latter. Ugh.

  • This seems more like a scam to tell them about you more than it is about the music. One section of asking your music genres, one about your personality, then 2 or more about where you live, how long you’ve lived there, if you’re happy. What on earth? It seems like they are trying to learn more about you then you are about your test in music. Trash article.

  • Go Figure ‼️ Brian May, a ASTROPHYSICIST…
    Einstein would be a ROCK FAN 🤔

  • I like all that was listed….so I’m not sure where I stand but if it sounds good I like it.

  • Nothing but bullschitt. It says nothing about your personality. Typical Click bait crap. The epitome of us journalism….

  • Reductive, across the board. They ask you do like rock? Jazz? Assuming there is a general use to classifying music into styles, aren’t there so many different sub-styles? Aren’t there so many examples of both those styles that I would Love and Detest?

    How do I pick one number, in theory I love ALL music, but when I listen to specific music, it’s a different question.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you like “religious music”? What? You mean it’s all the same?
    Or international music? Huh??? You mean you mean gamelan or Latvian music or Tuvan throat singing? Bachata? Persian classical? Not many people enjoy all those styles as though they were ONE style of music.
    How useful can it be to talk about music we aren’t actually listening to and not even about specific pieces or artists? Or time periods? There’s a lot of data ignored….

    Also I don’t think we have a sufficiently diverse and specific vocabulary for personality types etc. Perhaps words are inherently limited when articulating such diverse vagaries as personality and various differing aspects of music.

  • This is WAAAAAY too simplistic and normally it wouldn’t rub me the wrong way, but the biases are not cool in the year if our lord 2k22 to be honest (I don’t know when this was created exactly but)

    First off, i just have not so much a complaint as a general frustration – how do you answer the demographic questions when you haven’t lived in the same place your whole life or anywhere close to the same place? Or when you’ve moved back to the same area several separate times?

    Second, my first actual gripe. The genres are ridiculously simplistic, even xenophobic. “International”? What does that even mean? It’s really ABSURDLY western-centric, and I’m saying this as a boring white middle class person from the US. Do you mean traditional music? Pop music? Because Middle Eastern pop music is totally different from Jpop. Both are “international”. Both are also pop, but they’re totally different from western pop. There are also more kinds of rock and metal than you can wrap your head around. The kind of person who likes only the trashiest top 40 80s hair metal is gonna be WAY different from the kind of person who, say, likes prog metal that’s fused with music from a non-western (especially non-US) culture. Even western culture doesn’t have the same approach to anything. Judas Priest is nothing like Korpiklaani. Both are metal. Even if you mean traditional music it doesn’t work. You think east Asian folk music and African folk music are the same? They’re not even the same from place to place within those areas. And religious music? Which religion? Or did the quiz assume I’d think “Christianity” because that’s the dominant religion where I’m from. Again. This is something that varies massively between cultures, religions, and even sects within those religious. Reliant K and Gregorian Chants are both religious Christian music. Not even remotely the same thing.

    Idk I just feel like it would have made more sense to have maybe clips of music that illustrates the characteristics you’re going for, or at least list artists people can look up that demonstrate what you mean by a category. And for crying out loud we have got to stop with this whole “western music genres galore…..and then everyone else lumped into a Not Western Culture category” thing

    The last thing that rubs me the wrong way is that music is a completely subjective thing and an art form, and you’re making a quiz about individuals, and yet you leave out every permutation of gender identity and just have a male/female selector. Come on. Even if you’re secretly weird about non binary people, you could probably benefit from a better breakdown of gender identity when aligning it with musical tastes. Why cram people into boxes, especially in a case like this?

  • You said everything that was on my mind, thank you!!

  • I like indi post punk, synth, cold wave, dark wave and anything that’s around this taste
    I wear black I’m creative as in painting
    So I have an open mind and the music I listen to has to have some sort of meaning in the lyrics nothing shallow
    What type am I???

  • This article has the same value and scientific foundation of an horoscope: none.

  • What bothered me was the social class questions. I grew up in the 80’s I love classical music, pop, opera, rock, musicals and rap so from my choices you know that I am probably from an upper class family? No you knew that because you asked what social class my parents are. What social class one is from doesn’t define what music they like. This test gave me responses that were total oxymorons from the previous responses. Best suggestion, skip the test and save yourself the two minutes of your life that you’ll never get back!

  • I’d take the quiz but you ask for very personal information like the post code or family status. Wtf is the purpose of that?? That’s just one big bs to get the information you can sell on black market. Not cool.


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