[Dixielandjazz] You are What You Listen To

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 24 07:49:25 PDT 2009

You are what you listen to, says new study of music lovers

Think twice before proudly showing off your iPod playlist. Your choice  
of music may mark you out as
boring, dim and unattractive, according to new research from the  
University of Cambridge.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Published: 8:00AM BST 22 Aug 2009

The study found that we make assumptions about someone’s personality,  
values, social class and ethnicity based on their musical preferences.  
Classical buffs are seen as ugly and boring, while rock lovers are  
regarded as emotionally unstable and pop fans are considered to be  
rather dim. Perusing a person’s iPod playlist can “reinforce  
stereotypes and, potentially, social prejudices”, said Dr Jason  
Rentfrow, who led the research at the university’s Department of  
Social and Developmental Psychology. “This research suggests that,  
even though our assumptions may not be accurate, we get a very strong  
impression about someone when we ask them what music they like.”  
Subjects in the study were asked to ponder six musical genres: rock,  
pop, classical, jazz, rap and electronica. Jazz fans elicited the most  
positive response as they were considered to be imaginative, peace- 
loving liberals with friendly and outgoing natures. Classical buffs  
are perceived as quiet, friendly, responsible and intelligent but also  
unathletic, physically unattractive and dull. Those with a preference  
for rock songs are deemed to be “natural rebels”, thoroughly  
irresponsible and emotionally unstable, while pop fans are seen as  
conventional and calm but lacking in intelligence and wisdom. Rap  
aficionados are viewed as athletic and self-respecting but  
disorganised and “more hostile” than other music fans. Lovers of  
electronica are “a bit neurotic”. The research was carried out to mark  
the university’s 800th anniversary.

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