The Psychological Basis Of Musical Preference
Musical preferences develop over time according to various experiential and environmental factors. It has been observed that musical preferences vary across cultures, ages, and even gender. Here, introduce a generalized model of musical tastes based on the different listeners’ affective responses to excerpts from a broad range of musical genres. The results of the fourth research suggest that musical preferences for the MUSICS also depend on the listeners’ social and auditory qualities of the music. This study was conducted by Means.
Means first presented her musical preference questionnaire to 8th graders in a high school situated in a rural community in America. Her study comprised of two parts; a qualitative investigation and a quantitative data collection. Her qualitative investigation comprised a qualitative investigation into the musical preferences of musical participants and a numerical study concerning musical preference formation in a sample of students.
The second part of this study used a quantitative method to examine musical preference formation in a sample of high school students residing in a town in the Midwest. The students were recruited through the school’s concerts and events committee. The study focused on two main questions; one “do you agree that listening to certain types of music makes you feel relaxed or stressed out?” and the other was “do you think there is a link between listening to certain types of music and achieving work success?”
In both studies, the answers provided by the participants represented a great deviation from the conventional and received wisdom regarding musical taste formation. Consistent with previous research, the majority (over 80%) of participants indicated that music had a positive impact on their moods. Furthermore, the participants also demonstrated a clear link between musical preference formation and achievement. Students scoring high on musical preference formation were more likely to be highly successful in achieving academic and interpersonal goals. Also, the connection between musical preference formation and success was most pronounced for students who were highly creative (by definition). When asked if they thought there was a link between creativity and achievement, the participants overwhelmingly responded “yes”.
One of the largest areas of confusion surrounding musical preferences and achievement is how the students actually identify their own musical tastes. While a common theme may be identified in both studies, there was a great deal of variance in the actual identification of musical preferences. In the first study, participants were asked to match a specific melody or rhythm with a visual word, such as a dollar sign or a smiley face. In the second study, participants were asked to rate the importance of each melody element on an ordinal scale ranging from “very important” to “not very important”. Surprisingly, participants were not able to consistently match the elements on the scales.
Another issue that arises from these studies is how music may relate to our overall self-esteem. As we age, our musical tastes begin to change. In one study, participants were asked to rate the extent to which each melody element was important to them. Interestingly, even participants who considered themselves to be very open minded when it came to musical tastes indicated a negative association between musical taste and confidence. Overall, these results suggest that although musical tastes may not necessarily change throughout life, they do have an impact on our level of confidence.
As mentioned, musical preferences seem to have a particular impact on performance. In addition to examining how music influences performance, this study also examined how music relates to self-esteem. Specifically, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their relationship with their own musical preferences and their level of confidence. It was found that those who were more confident with their musical preferences were more likely to be successful in achieving career goals in music.
Overall, these studies provide insight into the psychological basis of musical preferences. Specifically, they demonstrate that music has the ability to affect multiple areas of our lives. They also suggest that self-esteem and confidence are strongly influenced by our personal musical preferences. If you would like to take part in this research, please contact Dr. Patrick S. Diehl at the University of Northumbria, UK.