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This research is based on the idea that people's preferences for music and other activities reveal a great deal about their personalities, lifestyles, and values.  

Jason Rentfrow has been heading a research program examining the role of music (and other leisure preferences) in everyday life. Our research suggests that there are four broad music preference dimensions. For example, individuals who like listening to classical music also like jazz but not country music, whereas those who like country music also tend to like pop and religious music.  In addition, scores on each of these dimensions are related to a variety of personality variables.  Along similar lines, we've examined the stereotypes associated with certain music preferences and their veridicality.  In general, a kernel of truth can be found in the stereotypes of people who like certain types of music.  Some of the questions our lab is currently addressing are: Do music genres differ in terms of their psychological characteristics? (e.g., are some genres more relaxing, angry, complex than other genres?)  Do the characteristics of certain music genres overlap with the characteristics of the people who enjoy listening to them? (e.g., do happy people listen to happy music?).

Greg Dunn a PhD student at the Technical University of Eindhoven and a researcher with Phillips Research is doing some interesting work on personality and connections to musical attributes. To participate in his study, go to www.traitsntunes.com.

Click here to get a copy of our Short Test of Music Preferences (STOMP)

Click here to take the test on-line and receive feedback on your music preferences.

Representative Publications:

Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2003). The do re miís of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1235-12561.

Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2006). Message in a Ballad: The role of music preferences in interpersonal perception. Psychological Science, 17, 236-242.

Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2007). The content and validity of music-genre stereotypes among college students. Psychology of Music, 35, 306-326.


[Social-Personality Area]    [Department of Psychology]    [University of Texas]

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Last modified: October 12, 2011