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Psychol Sci. 2006 Mar;17(3):236-42.

Message in a ballad: the role of music preferences in interpersonal perception.

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  • 1Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. pjr39@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

How is information about people conveyed through their preferences for certain kinds of music? Here we show that individuals use their music preferences to communicate information about their personalities to observers, and that observers can use such information to form impressions of others. Study 1 revealed that music was the most common topic in conversations among strangers given the task of getting acquainted. Why was talk about music so prevalent? Study 2 showed that (a) observers were able to form consensual and accurate impressions on the basis of targets' music preferences, (b) music preferences were related to targets' personalities, (c) the specific cues that observers used tended to be the ones that were valid, and (d) music preferences reveal information that is different from that obtained in other zero-acquaintance contexts. Discussion focuses on the mechanisms that may underlie the links between personality and music preferences.

PMID:
16507064
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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