How Different Music Genres Link to Personality Types

Do you ever find yourself judging someone for liking a certain genre of music? Here at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I’ve noticed that people of certain majors, cultural groups, or personality types tend to have different music preferences. The Agriculture students are stereotyped as loving country music and line dancing, in contrast with the Theatre students who are stereotyped as loving show tunes or soundtracks. This all links to personality traits as well because introverts and extroverts tend to like different music from one another.

Music choice links to one’s thinking type and how one meshes with another individual. This is why I find myself spending time with people who have the same music taste as me. There are two major thinking styles: empathizers and systemizers. Empathizers prefer mellow music, whereas systemizers prefer more thrilling music. Research was done by Adrian North, PhD in which it was proven that people who like classical music are creative and introverted, but people who like Kanye West turned out to be louder and would blurt out anything that came to mind.

Extroversion has been connected with happy, joyous music because these type of people love to be with others and tend to be more outgoing. Since they are so energetic and expressive, research has shown that they listen to rap, hip-hop, and overall just really “feel-good” music. Introversion can be defined as

“the focus on internal feelings rather than external stimulation.”

About 50% of the population are introverts, and they usually enjoy music that can be listened to in a private, intimate setting, such as one’s headphones or alone in a bedroom. The reason being is that they want to truly feel the emotions that a song is intended to give, and they favor meaningful lyrics and sensory stimulation.

My roommate, Alex Holmes, is a theatre major and an extrovert but also fits the stereotype of listening to musical soundtracks and show tunes. “I enjoy how I can totally transform into anther character when I’m listening to this music because of the facial expressions and dancing that comes along with it,” Holmes said. This relates to personality types as well because Theatre students are, a lot of the time, very eccentric and lively. They mesh well with other theatrical people because they have something to bond over, which is being onstage.

As for me, I am a Journalism major, and I spend most of my time with people who listen to the same music as me. I consider myself an introvert, and as I scroll through my Spotify playlists, my music is 75% indie/alternative. I appreciate soothing vocals and slower instrumentals because it forces me to contemplate and think. It’s a huge part of my identity. The science behind everything is that introverts have less dopamine flowing out of their brains when more active, which means louder music is often overstimulating to them. This is why my ideal day would be sitting outside while writing in my journal and listening to soft music in my earbuds.

It’s so easy to use music as a social tool to make friends and relationships with others because music correlates with personal experiences and it’s so easy to tie with memories.  A person who loves Punk Rock might make judgements about someone who likes Country because of the extremely different vibes and meanings. The thinking styles and feelings of individuals can be distinguished by music, which is why it’s such a special possession to many.


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