Accounting for Taste: Music and Your Personality

“Michaela was a strong, confident woman who loved mainstream contemporary pop. Her boyfriend was a fan of electronic dance music. When the two had been together for a few months, they decided to take a road trip to Philadelphia so he could meet her parents. The problem was that Michaela’s boyfriend was driving—and thus controlling the radio. “I hated his taste in music,” she recalls. “It was weird and rattled my nerves.” Meanwhile, he was bored by her favorite music. Each felt their artistic choices were superior—and both were convinced of the rightness of their own opinion. They couldn’t agree, and soon they were in a terrible fight. They never did make it to Philadelphia—and their relationship didn’t last much longer, either.”

Thus begins a very interesting article I read this weekend in Psychology Today entitled, Accounting for Taste” that describes how our interests in books, music and art goes to the core of who we are.   Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  Who hasn’t judged someone based upon the music they keep.  I know I have.  A friend of mine recently broke up with a girl he was dating citing her dislike of Radiohead as one of the reasons. (And can you really blame him?)

The article goes on to describe how the choices we make about music, art and books are based upon a desire to carve out identities for ourselves and articulate the stories of our lives. We look for those stories in others as well.  The author goes on to identify a few key categories that we tend to fall into:

  • The Taste Maker
  • The Thrill Seeker
  • The Self Medicator

I’m a cross between Taste Maker and Self Medicator. What are you?  Read the entire Psychology Today article here.

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