If you're an avid listener of rock and rap music (like I am) you've probably experienced some stereotyping throughout your life as others lump you into a category of neurotic, rebellious, moody anarchists who "have no taste in music." You'll be relieved to learn (as I was) that this is certainly not the case. In a case study performed by Rentfrow and Gosling, it was found that personality traits from The Big Five Personality Test are linked directly to musical preference. The Big Five personality test observes the following as core personality traits:
After scoring individuals’ personalities, Rentfrow and Gosling had them gauge their musical taste with the following musical genres:
- Reflective and complex
- Intense and rebellious
- Upbeat and conventional
- Energetic and rhythmic
While most would probably guess that neuroticism would be positively linked to listeners of intense and rebellious music, the opposite is actually true. In fact, "Rentfrow and Gosling found that liking for both reflective and complex music and intense and rebellious music was related positively to openness" (North 200). Put in another way: people who listen to jazz and classical music have the same personality traits as those who listen to rap and rock. But our stereotypes about genres of music and those who listen to them blind us to these facts. This only strengthens my point that our perceptions on types of music and who likes them are socially constructed over time, as well as are our feelings about whether these genres are inherently good or bad.