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Listening to music can be a very personal experience, but do you think that our musical tastes actually reveal something about our personality? Or is our individual taste in music merely a coincidence? If we look at another one of our senses, the sense of taste, science doesn’t know with certainty, if a human’s taste in food is learned/acquired or congenital, but it is widely considered to be a combination of both. In relation to music, I suspect that the same factors might very well apply.
Genetically, we most likely have certain congenital dispositions that make us more susceptible to one type of music rather than another one. First, there’s the psychological factor. As human beings we’re different. Some are more pensive and analytical by nature. Some are very sensitive and others are less emotionally inclined. Some are somewhat pessimistic, whereas others are much more carefree. Other contributing factors could very well be our childhood and teens, the time period we grew up in, and the music that our parents, siblings and friends listened to –- all bound to have a certain influence on our musical preferences. We associate music with specific memories, images, emotions and thoughts. And then, of course, there’s age; the mental/emotional stage we’ve reached.
However, I believe there’s yet another factor: life in general. Some are exposed to many trials and tribulations, others are exposed to far less bad experiences. Adversity makes us stronger and supply us with insight, depth and substance, qualities that we feel attracted to and seek actively for, when we select music, just like we feel attracted –- or take a liking –- to people with the same qualities and values as our own.
Also part of the picture is the fact that each of us listens to music for different purposes. Where some prefer a certain music genre, because they gain something quite specific from it, something personal and life-affirming, others need another genre of music as sheer entertainment and escapism. There are also those, who use music as both therapy and as diverting entertainment depending on their needs in a given situation or time period. And then there are those, who love music so much that they neither can nor will limit themselves to one specific genre, or for that matter, a few. Geography can also have an impact on what kind of music people listen to –- that is, which country they live in, which part of the country, and whether they live in a big city or in a rural area.
But what do you think? Does your musical taste reflect your personality?