Hilarious. Thanks, Astyanax. I'm sure you didn't expect anyone to think this study was anything but garbage. To me, it's another example of the
corruption of the academic world by commercial principles...
He said: "We have always suspected a link between music taste and personality. This is the first time that we've been able to look at it in real
detail. No-one has ever done this on this scale before."
Prof North said the research could have many uses in marketing, adding: "If you know a person's music preference you can tell what kind of
person they are, who to sell to.
(Quotes are from the original BBC article you linked)
Yeah, marketing. I've worked, at a low level, for one of the larger market research companies in the UK, they do most of the big banks. The kind of
mind required to take this BS seriously... you need to be able to ignore hugely obvious assumptions and loadings of the question. It's basically
blinding yourself to the fact that you're asking questions to get the answers you want.
The fact that I, as so many other posters here, have tastes that span a variety of genres, seems to have been factored out of the results. But I can
easily imagine the kind of methods they've used to reach such a cripplyingly banal and incorrect conclusion:
The study is continuing and Prof North, who is head of the university's department of applied psychology, is still looking for participants to
take part in a short online questionnaire
Oh - remember it said "we have always suspected a link between musical taste and personality"? Two things: first, it makes me think that maybe this
prejudice informed the choice of questions asked. Second, I doubt very much that I'm alone in having experienced huge shifts in my musical tastes
over my lifetime - usually liking new stuff rather than learning to dis
like old stuff. The obvious implication is that therefore my
personality has changed too. Really?
For myself, I know that the way in which my tastes have evolved have had entirely to do with my evolution as a musician.
Actually, almost entirely. I grew up a classical music snob and then when I started to like pop, I became embarrassed about this, listening to the
radio with an earphone (ouch! That
dates me!) to avoid being caught. I should say that my parents were not classical snobs - they liked the
pop music of their day, which for years I despised but now appreciate (although I now think the people they listened to were not exemplars of the
In my teens I liked what most people around me liked: ROCK!! I sang in bands and started to learn to play guitar. Only on going to University and
being exposed to a rather more heterogeneous musical environment did I start to enjoy funk: and hanging out with musicians I liked and respected
brought me to jazz. Years later I started liking country, again because of seeing and hanging with some great players in that style.
So... yeah... it's marketing BS and the researchers at Herriott-Watt ought to be ashamed of themselves. If they really wanted to do something
useful, they could look at what happens to people's brains as they learn music. That's much more enlightening, IMHO.