Music Preferences

It’s definitely not a secret that people love listening to music. From listening to music while exercising, to bobbing our heads along to a song in the car, we make music an essential part of our lives. But why does music have such a worldwide appeal? First of all, the type of music we like expresses something about ourselves, even the broadest of genres, such as rock, classical, and blues, start to give us a basic picture of a person. Music can teach us who we are and where we belong, we seem to discover ourselves through music. We can build and project an image of ourselves through music.

Second, results from multiple studies show that there are four music-preference factors; 1) reflexive and intensive, compromising of classical, jazz, folk, and blues genres; 2) intensive and rebellious, compromising of rock, alternative, and heavy metal; 3) upbeat and conventional, compromising of country, pop, soundtracks, and religious and lastly; 4) energetic and rhythmic, compromising of rap, soul, and electronica. The degree of convergence across the studies suggests that the psychological basis for music preferences is strong. Lastly, many people also use music for mood regulation and enhancement. Research has shown that classical music, and similar genres, help slow down your breathing and heart rate, which is why we listen to these genres while relaxing. Rock, pop, and similar genres help clear our minds when we are doing complex and stressful activities, which is why we listen to those genres of music while we are working out at the gym. There are many different things that go into what type of music you like, from social situations to jamming in the car, music is an essential part of our day to day lives, and it always will be.

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