Music has co-existed with humanity and has served its purpose beyond what it was meant for. From Neanderthals to Coldplay, music has reconstructed itself and the people listening to it. These preferences are not a trait you are born with, but rather, a composition of several factors. Personality, emotional associations, and culture determine one’s musical taste.


Personality heavily influences musical taste. In the surveys conducted, those who rated high in openness to experience prefer genres such as classical, jazz or pop. Extroverts have been linked to preferences for happy, up-beat and conventional music.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology supports the theory of empathizing. The findings revealed that those who score high on empathy levels tend to prefer music like (R&B, soft rock), and contemporary music (electronica, Latin, acid jazz).


Secondly, emotional associations are important in determining what we prefer or dislike. When we come across new music, we either “crave for more” or change the channel, meaning that the first encounter is highly important because our subconscious links the new song or tune with an image, memory, or person. Despite never having heard the song before, it has already been linked with either positive or negative past experiences. Nostalgia and impacts from people we admire cause on an implicit level an association, where songs acquire a deep meaning and become emotionally charged.

Our emotions heavily influence how we feel about a certain song and our initial attraction to that general genre.


Lastly, culture influences what we listen to on a daily basis. The latest trends are what most young adults frequently listen to due to repetition and conformity. Even in cases where an upcoming album is not within our tastes, repetition on the radio or repetition from friends increases familiarity, which increases the chances of one liking the material.

Furthermore, due to the phenomenon of group conformity we tend to listen to the same music as our friends in order to not be socially isolated.

Although music cannot be correlated with vital parameters, it is without a doubt a companion no one wants to live without. A music collection -- no matter what it consists of -- provides us with what we listen to in times of joy, grief, or pride, and our musical preferences say more about us than we might think.