Like a rolling stone

What does your musical taste say about your personality?

A global study of 36,000 people found a range of associations between personality traits and musical tastes – some of them quite surprising.

Opera lovers tend to have high self-esteem and are creative and gentle; country and western devotees are typically hard-working and outgoing; heavy metal fans tend to have low self-esteem and are not so hard-working, but are gentle.

Conversely, song choice can provide clues to personality. In one study, strangers were asked to judge what people were like (extrovert, adventurous, melancholic, etc) based on a CD of their favourite music or other clues. The assessments based on the CD were significantly better matches than those drawn from looks, clothes or taste in films.


About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Music, Mind and Medicine’ in June 2009 and reviewed and updated in July 2014.

Music, Mind and Medicine
Education levels:
14–16, 16–19, Continuing professional development