Mozart and Metallica fans kindred spirits: research
Fri Sep 5, 9:37 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Heavy metal fans and lovers of classical music have more in common than they like to think, according to research published Friday by a university in Edinburgh.
Although fans of bands like Metallica are traditionally portrayed as work-shy, long-haired students and lovers of Mozart are seen as sober and hard-working, researchers found that both music types attract creative people who are at ease with themselves but can be introverted.
But classical music fans have high self-esteem while heavy rock fans lack self-belief, the team at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh found.
Indie music listeners lack self-esteem and lovers of pop music are uncreative, while country and western fans are hard-working and rap fans have an outgoing personality.
The three-year study on the links between personality and music taste was led by psychology professor Adrian North.
"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," he said.
"People do actually define themselves through music and relate to other people through it but we haven't known in detail how music is connected to identity."
North added: "One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They're both creative and at ease but not outgoing.
"The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things."
The research could have many uses in marketing, the professor said.
"If you know a person's music preference you can tell what kind of person they are, who to sell to. There are obvious implications for the music industry who are worried about declining CD sales."
More than 36,000 people around the world took part in the research, making it the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted.
People were asked to rate 104 musical styles and were also questioned on their personality traits.
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