Linking Music to Personality


You are what you listen to.

This has been proven in academic research through studies performed over the past decade. Music has been used to convey who we are or who we want to be, essentially determining our personalities. This was mentioned, with great fanfare, through a 2008 study done by Professor Adrian North that linked music to personality for the first time in great detail. This concept was further explored by Dunn, de Ruyter & Bouwhuis, amongst others. The vast majority of the papers use the five-factor model as it’s theoretical base. Commonly referred to as The Big 5, it is named as such because there are five different traits that are measured. These are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism (OCEAN). The test subjects were scored along each of these dimensions, and general findings were given in each study. Overall, they were very similar to each other, however there were slight differences in each.

For example; one of the papers found that people who listened to folk music were creative and emotionally stable, while another found that other folk music lovers were socially active and hardworking, but not creative. Another example found that listeners of dance music were open to new experiences and hardworking, while another study found that a different set of dance music listeners were outgoing and gentle, but also lazy.

The reason why there might not be a definitive answer is because music is highly subjective and depends greatly on the context in which you listen to it or the experiences you have attached to certain songs. I know this because my PhD thesis was based on the topic of music, experiences and emotions. Every time we listen to music, it says a lot about who we are.

What makes this idea so fascinating to everyone I’ve talked to is that music is a universal language. People get that the music we like to listen to conveys what kind of lifestyle we actually live or want to live. Digging further in the research, it was found that listening to rock or rap would mean that you are an intense and rebellious type of person. Of course, in today’s world of unlimited access to music, its much more complicated than that. Everyone’s music library is eclectic now, with songs ranging from hip-hop to alternative, jazz to dance and everything in between. However, there is definitely a pattern to what you listen to.

What we want to do with Moment.Us is figure out a way to tap into this pattern, and prove that the academic research tying personality to music can be applied to people’s actual listening patterns, all in real-time. That’s what we’re trying to do with the new music personality app, launching soon on Android devices (if you want to join our beta test group, please email me at or subscribe at


This app can determine your personality either from the music you have stored on your device or by telling us your favourite genres. Don’t worry, we don’t care whether you’re a secret Justin Bieber fan (not that there’s anything wrong with that) as we only look at the genres of your songs for our analysis.

You’ll have the ability to let us know how correct we are and share this app among your friends. It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s all based on the one thing we all love…music!


One thought on “Linking Music to Personality”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s