Does Your Music Affect Your Personality?

From a study by Schiltz L, Maugendre M, and Brytek-Matera A.:

Questing one’s personal identity and developing a coherent representation of oneself, the other and the world are major tasks in adolescence. Research showed that a satisfactory resolution of the crisis of adolescence can be favoured by psychological counselling based on artistic mediations. The objective of this study consisted in exploring the effect of music on the pictorial expression of a non clinical sample of female adolescents (N=157) aged from 17 to 28 years. We analysed free drawings realised by the test group with the help of a rating scale constructed in a phenomenological and structural perspective (Schiltz, 2006). The adolescents painted under musical induction. We proposed three different styles of music, i.e. baroque music (Georg Friedrich Händel and Johann Sebastian Bach), classical music (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven) and polish [sic] ethnical music (Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa-Warsaw Village Band). By using non parametric inferential and multi dimensional statistics, we could show that structural characteristics of music styles lead to differences in formal and content variables on the rating scales for the pictures. The results of our exploratory study open some tracks for future research. It would be pertinent to enlarge the population to other categories of age and to investigate the influence of gender.

Cover of the book <cite>The Mirror of Music</cite>, by Stanley V. Makower, showing an angel drawn in Secession style playing a large viol.

The Mirror of Music
Aubrey Beardsley

In this study, it appears that the music you listen to affects your self-expression, and possibly your personality (it’s already been quite well-established that music affects your mood). While this abstract does not give specific results, the whole idea of personality formation and its interaction with styles of music is fascinating (although not unexpected, given what has already been published on the effects of music on the brain).
The point to consider here is, if you are unhappy with your personality, music might be an effective method to modify who you are. And if you are not choosing your own music, but (as in retail outlets or restaurants) are forced to listen to unhealthy types of music, what is that doing to you? It might be time to stand up for our rights not to be influenced by music that might be bad for us!

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