Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why Do We Have Different Tastes In Music?

Have you ever wonder why your taste in music is so different from other people? Why there are songs that you love but others hate them? Or bands that sucks but to your friends they’re awesome. 

One of the hit songs of 2012 was the song "Call me baby" by Carly Rae Jepsen. For many, this song is a great piece just perfect for disco lights in an overcrowded room. But for headbangers and metalheads, this is one of the most annoying and nonsense songs ever made. You can't complain why people have such bad taste in music because on the other side they might be thinking the same to you. 

Scientist found out that our taste of music is driven by external and internal influences. We will discuss them in details on this post.

External Influences

Our family, friends, peers, media, office mates, band mates, music critics, famous music blog, and the people that surround us can be a big influence on the kind of music that we listen to. Would you believe that you like certain bands because your cool friends tell you that they’re awesome? Well for me, I do. When majority of your friends tells you that a certain band or song is awesome, there is a big possibility that you would also like that band. 

When we hear a certain idea or thought over and over again, later on our brains tends to accept that idea and inject it to our subconscious. Eventually, that idea or thought will become our reality. 

The famous American Author Napoleon Hill calls this phenomenon as Auto-suggestion. If you keeping hearing from the people around you that they like Megadeth because of blah blah blah and whatever reasons, what they’re doing is that they are planting in your subconscious mind the idea that "Megadeth is a great band". 

Sooner or later when you think of bands, your subconscious mind would suggest to your conscious mind that you like Megadeth. Often times we like bands or songs primarily because of cultural influences but not because of the technicality of the music itself.  

Based on my experience this is very true. I grew up surrounded by people who listen to rock/metal so no doubt why I like the same kind of music too. However, this may not be always true to everyone.

What if you ignore your outside influences?

Since our taste in music is somehow dependent on our outside influences, what if we take those influences away? What would be the kind of music that you would like? Would you still like "Laid me to Rest" by Lamb of God or would you prefer listening to Justin Bieber instead?  :)

Pandora, an Internet Radio station aims to provide solution for this problem. They designed a computer algorithm that would help you find the kind of music that you like without the influence of other people. Pandora is a free service that would let you create your own station based on your personal taste of music. I haven't tried their service yet since you can only access their website if you live in the US.

Internal Influences

It includes emotions, feelings, beliefs, dreams, values and other factors that can be found within your inner self. These things define who you are, your character, your personality, and how you deal with people around you. Based on studies, your personality would tend to reflect on the kind of music that you like. Your inner self would resonate to your outside world and that affects your music preference. 

I bump to an article just the other day about Music and Personality by Kendra Cherry. She mentioned there was a research conducted by two psychologists Jason Rentfrow and Sam Gosling. According to Jason and Sam, your top 10 favorite songs are enough to reveal your personality, whether you are an Introvert or an Extrovert. 

Just to give you a little idea about introvert and extrovert. Extroverts tend to enjoy human interactions. They like parties, social gatherings, and community activities. On the other hand, Introverts are likely to enjoy time being alone and are not interested socializing with other people. Most introverts are archetypal artists, writers, sculptors, engineers, composers and inventors.

According to their research, extroverts would tend to like pop music and prefer to listen to top 40 hits. "While pop music lovers are hard-working and have high self-esteem, researchers suggests that they tend to be less creative and more uneasy."

I am an introvert kind of person and I was really amazed how their assessment fitted my personality.

This is their assessment for people who likes Rock / Heavy Metal - "Despite the sometimes aggressive image that rock music and heavy metal project, researchers found that fans of this style of music are usually quite gentle. They tend to be creative, but are often introverted and may suffer from low self-esteem." 

My taste of music revolves around rock/Metal, loud, and aggressive kind of music. But after writing this blog post, I realized that If I take away my outside influences, I will find some new genre that I've never thought that I like. Songs of Jack Johnson, The Black Keys, Coldplay, The Fray, some Blues songs, Lily Allen and some bands that others may call gay would seems pleasing to my ear. 

Now how about you? What if you take away those external influences, what kind of music would you listen to? Write down your answers in the comment box below. Just be honest to yourself, listen to want you really enjoy, and most of all have fun finding your real taste in music.   


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