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Musical Preferences and Personality Development Are Parents Vs. Teenagers Excessive Wars About Music Preferences Justified?

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Autor: martina2581  •  April 24, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  2,067 Words (9 Pages)  •  399 Views

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Musical Preferences and Personality Development

Are Parents vs. Teenagers Excessive Wars about Music Preferences Justified?

PSY 201 Introduction to Psychology

Research Paper

August 8, 2014

“You should not listen to this kind of music!” “How can you listen to this sort of music?” “He is going to end up being violent because he listens to metal music.” Do these sentences sound familiar? Probably. Music presents an integral part of our lives. There are many various music genres, and everyone inclines to a different one. Some people tend to like various genres while other people seem to worship only a few very similar genres and despising others. It is not unusual to see people judging others based on their tastes in fashion, books, movies, or music. In fact, these topics are the most commonly used topics when meeting new people. Apparently, knowing someone’s taste can help people get a clearer idea about what kind of a person he or she is.  Moreover, it is said that music preferences of people are based on peoples’ personalities, but at the same time, peoples’ personalities might be influenced by the music they are exposed to. This is also why parents usually care about their children’s preferences too much, for example. Many parents are afraid of what their children might become when listening to a music genre that they view as inappropriate for their children; however, their concerns and restrictions in terms of music choices may be exaggerated. This paper is going to discuss the correlation between music preferences and peoples’ personalities in order to find out whether parents’ worries about what their children listen to are actually justified.

Music has various functions in peoples’ lives – while some consider it to be simply a pleasant addition in their lives, something they can enjoy at parties or when relaxing after a long busy day, others may regard it as a part of their lifestyles, something that actually represents their views and beliefs. Not many people realize that music actually has a strong effect on peoples’ brains. In fact, Belle Bethe Cooper (2013), a content crafter at Buffer blog, explains that music does not only affect one part of the brain. Within her research, Cooper came across an interesting and detailed diagram showing the brain’s areas and what activities they are involved in, as it can be seen below.

[pic 1]

When taking a good look at the picture, it can be noticed that the brain senses and responds to music in eight areas. These are, however, only general links between music and peoples’ perceptions of it. As mentioned before, music also seems to influence peoples’ moods and even personalities. Since music can be intensively sensed in several areas of the brain, the music genre may also play a significant role in the brain’s involvement. In other words, different music styles may highly influence the brain’s responds which can affect the way people behave when being exposed to a certain genre in the long run. Having this on mind, parents often express an excessive concern about their children’s preferences, especially during the vulnerable time when they are going through a personality development as teenagers.

 Everyone is different, and everyone may prefer a different kind of music. Most people usually think that music preferences are exclusively based on peoples’ personalities. However, according to the professor of business psychology at University College London and New York University, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (2011), there are actually two views about the music preferences. On one hand, music preferences do indeed depend on peoples’ personalities, but on the other hand, the preferences may also be entirely random. In other words, people do not necessarily have to be loyal to only one or two music genres; their choice of music can relate to different situations and moods they are experiencing at the very moment. When a person is sad, he or she might listen to a slow-paced song that expresses strong emotions, such as heartbreak, depression, existential doubts, etc. On the contrary, when the same person feels happy, he or she might actually go for a more cheerful song at that moment. Despite of this, the preferences are indeed driven mostly by peoples’ identities. The question, however, is to what extent the music preferences correlate to personalities. This question can be once again projected into a very simple situation that occurs in many households and is behind this paper’s topic – parents vs. children when it comes to the kids’ music preferences. Many parents express substantial worries and caution about their children’s favorite music, especially when they listen to heavy music, such as punk, rock, or metal, because parents often think that this sort of music results in teenagers growing up into being rude, violent, completely lost in their lives, or even drive them to commit a suicide.

The parents’ concerns about their children’s favorite music may be exaggerated because as it was mentioned earlier, if someone listens to rock and metal music, it does not mean that the person worships only this one genre. All the music preferences can be divided into three main categories – preferences for heavy music, preferences for light music, and eclectic music preferences (Schwartz & Fouts, 2003). Heavy music typically involves music genres, such as various kinds of rock and metal music, punk, and rap, which have intense, expressive lyrics, are loud, and express different strong emotions. On the other hand, light music usually includes music styles that are softer, slower or designed for fun and dancing – pop, classical music, dance music. The third group of music preferences describes preferences of people who do not prefer one of the forgone music categories to the other. People in this group are actually rather flexible when it comes to their music choices – a perfect example of what was discussed earlier in this paper, when it was explained that some people may prefer different kinds of music in different situations. If these cases are possible, music preferences of teenagers depend on various circumstances. During the time when teenagers undergo personality development, seeking their identity, they are highly influenced by many various factors when picking their favorite music styles, such as predispositions inherited from parents, peers’ influences, social or family issues. Since the life situations and circumstances are likely to keep changing over a lifetime, there is no guarantee that if a teenager starts preferring one particular music style, he or she will stay loyal to this genre for the rest of his or her life. Even though Veronica Gonzalez (2013), honors student and research assistant majored in Social Psychology at Saint Mary’s College of California, says that if a person starts getting attracted to a certain music genre during the time when the person is seeking his or her identity, the preferences stick with the person throughout his or her lifetime, there still may be several cases that would most probably disconfirm this statement.


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