Stereotyping musical genres

by Rob Horning

5 August 2008


Tyler Cowen links to this article from an Australian newspaper that looks at research into what teenagers’ musical tastes reveal about their personalities. The article includes a quote from a psychiatrist urging that “The key to understanding any teenager is to treat them with respect by listening to what they have to say, rather than typecasting them according to the type of music they listen to”, but this doesn’t stop the paper from providing this handy chart:


POP: Conformists, overly responsible, role-conscious, struggling with sexuality or peer acceptance.

HEAVY METAL: Higher levels of suicidal ideation, depression, drug use, self-harm, shoplifting, vandalism, unprotected sex.

DANCE: Higher levels of drug use regardless of socio-economic background.

JAZZ/RHYTHM & BLUES: Introverted misfits, loners.

RAP: Higher levels of theft, violence, anger, street gang membership, drug use and misogyny.

How very insightful. We can only hope that psychologists are working on a iTunes plug-in that will spit out a complete personality profile based on the contents of one’s library. Some parents might find that quite useful.

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