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Fans prefer musicians with personalities similar to themselves

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Ozzy Osbourne fans are ‘disagreeable’ and Bowie lovers are ‘neurotic’: Study shows people prefer listening to artists who reflect their own personality

  • Researchers analysed personalities of 80,000 fans and 50 superstar musicians
  • Found fans prefer musicians who have similar personalities to themselves
  • Also discovered musical taste is heavily influenced by the artist’s personality  

Musical taste is heavily influenced by the personality of the artist and not just their songs, scientists have proved for the first time. 

Researchers also discovered that fans prefer musicians who have similar personalities to themselves. 

Analysis of more than 80,000 fans and 50 superstar musicians found Ozzy Osborne lovers to be disagreeable, David Bowie fanatics to be neurotic, Marvin Gaye listeners to be conscientious and avid Radiohead followers to be open.  

Analysis of more than 80,000 fans and 50 superstar musicians found Ozzy Osborne lovers to be disagreeable

Research found David Bowie fans to be neurotic, according to the analysis of 80,000 people

Musical taste is heavily influenced by the personality of the artist and not just their songs, scientists have proved for the first time

Dr David Greenberg, a Zuckerman Scholar at Bar-Ilan University, who was involved in the research, said: ‘In today’s world, where social divisions are increasing, our studies are showing us how music can be a common denominator to bring people together.’ 

Scientists at four universities, including from the US and Israel, gave both fans and artists a personality score based on a well-established system which rates five traits: conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness. 

Researchers were then able to predict what band or musician a person would like when considering their age, gender, and the genre of music. 

Avid Radiohead followers scored highly for'openness', the study found

Marvin Gaye listeners are very conscientious individuals, the study found

Researchers discovered that fans prefer musicians who have similar personalities to themselves. In the experiment, the public persona, not the personal personality, of the musician was assessed

The 50 artists included Beyoncé, Coldplay, Elton John, Taylor Swift, and The Rolling Stones. 

In the experiment, the public persona, not the personal personality, of the musician was assessed.   

Individuals were recruited to three separate studies and listened to a vast array of music.

Fans were asked to give personality ratings for the five traits for each artist and researchers recorded response to the music and the song lyrics as well. 

As well as revealing that fans gravitate towards artists that are similar to themselves, the researchers believe it highlights the social powers of music.  

Study co-author Dr Sandra Matz, from Columbia Business School, says: ‘The findings can pave the way for a new approaches for record companies or music management to target and build audiences.’ 

The findings were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for'openness'. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for ‘openness’. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score 

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for'conscientiousness'. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for ‘conscientiousness’. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for'extraversion'. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for ‘extraversion’. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for'agreeableness'. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for ‘agreeableness’. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for'neuroticism'. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

Pictured, the scores for the 50 artists for ‘neuroticism’. The more pink a name is, the higher they scored for this specific trait. The more blue, the lower the score

WHAT ARE THE FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS?

The ‘Big Five’ personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The Big Five personality framework theory uses these descriptors to outline the broad dimensions of people’s personality and psyche.

Beneath each broad category is a number of correlated and specific factors.

Here are the five main points: 

Openness – this is about having an appreciation for emotion, adventure and unusual ideas.

People who are generally open have a higher degree of intellectual curiosity and creativity.

They are also more unpredictable and likely to be involved in risky behaviour such as drug taking.

Conscientiousness – people who are conscientiousness are more likely to be organised and dependable.

These people are self-disciplined and act dutifully, preferring planned as opposed to spontaneous behaviour.

They can sometimes be stubborn and obsessive.

Extroversion – these people tend to seek stimulation in the company of others and are energetic, positive and assertive.

They can sometimes be attention-seeking and domineering.

Individuals with lower extroversion are reserved, and can be seen as aloof or self-absorbed.

Agreeableness – these individuals have a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative as opposed to antagonistic towards other people.

Sometimes people who are highly agreeable are seen as naive or submissive.

People who have lower levels of agreeableness are competitive or challenging.

Neuroticisim – People with high levels of neuroticism are prone to psychological stress and get angry, anxious and depressed easily.

More stable people are calmer but can sometimes be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned.

Individuals with higher neuroticism tend to have worse psychological well-being.



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