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Personality Secrets in Your MP3 Player

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the learning-more-about-you dept.

Music 326

Jeremy Dean writes "Once past saying 'hello' and 'how are you?' to someone you've just met, what is next? How do we make friends and get to know other people? Psychologists have talked about the importance of body language, physical appearance and clothing but they've not been so keen on what we actually talk about. A recent study put participants in same-sex and opposite-sex pairings and told them to get to know each other over 6 weeks (Rentfrow & Gosling, 2006). Analysing the results, they found the most popular topic of conversation was music. What is it about music that's so useful when we first meet someone and what kind of information can we extract from the music another person likes? "

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Likes country: emotionally stable (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891494)

Likes country: emotionally stable
In the U.K., maybe. Try doing the same survey in Oklahoma. Or, the local truck stop.

Re:Likes country: emotionally stable (0, Flamebait)

nova20 (524082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891860)

Usually, I find that "likes country" means "is a redneck, and proud of it".

Re:Likes country: emotionally stable (1, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891960)

"Emotionally Stable" != "Not a wierd redneck".

And certainly,

Likes Country Music != Someone I want to hang out with

Re:Likes country: emotionally stable (5, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892068)

I like BOTH kinds of music. Country AND western...

no music plz (1)

negrace (984807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892342)

So what should we talk about, normal people, who like not to hear any of that weird shitty noise that you call "musik" while thinking/working/slacking ? :)

Me too! (1)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891512)

I know thats one of the first things I ask when I meet new people...unless it's a work environment...but 9/10 when I ask I am greeted with a response that makes me say "eeewww" to myself...and then when I have to explain the kind of music I like I usually have trouble relating that to them...but you can usually tell who you can avoid by their (usually horrible) taste in music.

Ugh. (5, Insightful)

swid27 (869237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891746)

Well, that's probably (another) reason that I manage to have a hard time creating memorable "hooks" with other people; I have practically no interest in keeping up with or finding new music. (It isn't that I don't enjoy nearly all forms of music, mind you, it's just that, for me, there's approximately zero value in seeking out new things to listen to.)

On a related note, the common geek tendency to disparage everyone who doesn't have the same eXtreMely obscure/not-yet-trendy/running counter to current popular opinion taste in music as he/she does is very lamentable. Seriously, most people don't use their taste in music to define themselves, so judging people on that is very narrow-minded.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891990)

On a related note, the common geek tendency to disparage everyone who doesn't have the same eXtreMely obscure/not-yet-trendy/running counter to current popular opinion taste in music as he/she does is very lamentable. Seriously, most people don't use their taste in music to define themselves, so judging people on that is very narrow-minded.
Agreed. This is why ask questions about likes: "So, what do you think of Brand New's new album?" or, "Are you a fan of Fall Out Boy?". Sometimes I'll work in a band reference and see if they pick up on it. Like recently while watching a friend of a friend play WoW, after he died and rez'd in the graveyard, "Hmm, so what's it feel like to be a ghost?" -- he gave me a blank stare.

Sometimes I'll just play music I like in my office and see who says they like it. At my previous job, there was a gal there who didn't listen to the same stuff as me -- I couldn't name a single band I liked that she had heard of, short of the classics (Tom Petty, CSN&Y, etc). So, I made her a mix CD after she asked to hear some of the stuff I liked. She turned out to be one of my best friends at that job, and we still stay in touch.

Re:Ugh. (1, Insightful)

Meatloaf Surprise (1017210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892090)

Seriously, most people don't use their taste in music to define themselves, so judging people on that is very narrow-minded.

I don't think it is that narrow minded to judge someone based on the type of music they listen to. For instance, someone with a taste in, say, pop and rap is probably someone who follows the popular trend and cannot think for themselves. However, someone with a more obscure taste in music is someone who would rather be unique and not follow the group, so to speak. I hope this doesn't too much like Mr. Caulfield, but it's pretty easy to tell if someone is a phony based on the type of music they listen to.

Ugh. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892222)

So which is which? T

he person who listens to music he enjoys or the person who listens to music he enjoys telling other people he listens to?

Because... (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891520)

...music is supposed toc ome from the artists soul. Music explains an artists point of view on subjects.

If you and I like the same artists, chances are relatively high we hold the same views.

Not to mention when I'm blasting Emperor or Dimmu Borgir or Dying Fetus, you won't ask me to put on some Kenny G.

Re:Because... (2, Funny)

shotgunsaint (968677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891618)

No, but I may ask for some Dave Brubeck, or mayhaps the Berzerker. Anyone trying to analyze my personality through my music tastes could only come to two conclusions: Schizophrenic or Elitist Snob. I'm not sure whether either of them are wrong :)

Re:Because... (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891752)

Anyone trying to analyze my personality through my music tastes could only come to two conclusions: Schizophrenic or Elitist Snob. I'm not sure whether either of them are wrong :)
EXACTLY. See, I may be into extreme metal, but I will never say I don't like something because it "isn't metal enough" However, I have met NUMEROUS people who would make that exact statement. It's not just the artists that I am interested in that others should be concerned with in terms of figuring out what kind of person I am...it should be how I react to the artists that YOU are into as well. Many people forget that I can learn more about them by judging their reaction to MY interests, rather than them TELLING me about theirs.

Re:Because... (2, Insightful)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891664)

Sing from your fucking heart!!
I want my rockstars dead!!
Bill Hicks says it best =)

Re:Because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891784)

..music is supposed toc ome from the artists soul. Music explains an artists point of view on subjects.



Wow have you ever bought a bill of goods.

Re:Because... (2, Interesting)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892042)

Haven't you considered the possibility that a large number of people can really relate to corporate shill sellouts because they would like to one day be a corporate shill sellout themselves? American Idol shows us how many people there are who are completely out of touch with reality and would give anything for the dream of one day being a sellout.

Re:Because... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892216)

See, this is where we learn about people.

Your response implies I am referring to corporate acts who have their lyrics and music written for them. These are not artists, they are performers.

Now, there is nothing wrong with that. They do what their abilities grant them to do.

However. My point here is that considering that your initial reaction was to assume that I am a "sheep" following whatever happens in the mainstream just goes to show how unbelievably shallow you are.

There are musicians that write their own lyrics and music that you don't hear on the radio or see on TV, you know...did it ever cross your mind that maybe possibly I was referring to one of THOSE people?

Elvis was a performer. George Evelyn is an artist and musician.

See the difference?

Myers-Briggs Jung (4, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891924)

One thing I would like to see is musical preferences by Myers-Briggs/Jung [wikipedia.org] personality type. I mention this because, although imperfect, I have found that these personality types will give you a lot of information about a person. Someone who is ENFP (typical 'party girl') is mostly only interested in having fun and would likely be really into the pop-music of the day, on the other hand someone who is ISTJ (typical accountant) is probably going to be far more interested in technical perfection and may like Classical or Jazz; the reason musical taste could be important is an ENFP will think that the ISTJ and his music is boring whereas the ISTJ will think that the ENFP's music and lifestyle are pointless.

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892038)

question:

I like Jazz, Bluegrass, Country, Classic Rock, Death/Black metal, Jungle, Breaks, "political rap" (i.e. immortal technique) Opera, Ambient, Noisecore, Power Metal, Mathcore, Tech-Step, Trip-Hop....

What kind of personality would you put that at?

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (2, Funny)

straybullets (646076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892156)

the personnality of someone who likes to put labels on things ? ;)

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892178)

ENTP. No question about it.

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892346)

ENTP. No question about it.
That's funny, because based on what my personality is IRL matches exactly ZERO of the things that identify ENTP.

I will never tell someone they are wrong to have an interest in something, nor have I ever found anyone "boring."

EVERYBODY is an interesting person. That doesn't mean they are good or bad. However, I have yet to meet or see a single solitary person that I would call boring. In addition, I have yet to meet or see a single solitary person that I would apply a "personality" type to.

Every person living on this planet is two-faced. The fun part is discovering that other face.

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892186)

As a guess ... INTJ

I am an INTJ (and I suspect that although we only represent 1% of the population we're pretty common on Slashdot) and one of the more obvious characteristics of our personality type is an interest in everything ... Just a guess though

Re:Myers-Briggs Jung (1)

damacus (827187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892264)

I second that analysis. Or an INTP. Pretty similar also.

Re:Because... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892088)

Quite right.

Mathematics is the universal language. Music expreses that, and also the language of the soul, so it has the best of both worlds.

--
Computer & Music Joke: Rember, C# is still a Db.

It's easier than thinking (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891524)

It's much easier to say you like some crappy indie band in order to get inside a girl's pants.

I don't have any favourite music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891526)

So I guess I am out of the dating game, then.

Oh, well. More time for WoW.

Fall out boy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891530)

I know someone who finds the lyrics from fall out boy meaningful isnt someone i want to talk to.

Re:Fall out boy (0)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892104)

I know someone who finds the lyrics from fall out boy meaningful isnt someone i want to talk to.

They call kids like us vicious and carved out of stone
But for what we've become, we just feel more alone
Always weigh what I've got against what I left
So progress report: I am missing you to death

[Chorus: x2]
Douse yourself in cheap perfume it's
So fitting, so fitting of the way you are
You can't cover it up
Can't cover it up

As yes, the notes of love.. (2, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891534)

I just bought a new waterbed
and it's made for me and you!

Why don't, we get drunk, and screw...

Squirt me three random songs! (2, Funny)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891538)

Maybe Microsoft's Zune is onto something.

New line in a bar on a Saturday night -

"Squirt me three tunes, and I'll let you know if you can buy me a drink."

Re:Squirt me three random songs! (4, Funny)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891850)


Not many use the word "squirt" in a bar without intending to follow it up with some form of fluid exchange. This can too often be misinterpreted as a bad pick-up line, and in some cases might actually get you tossed out of the bar like some kind of pariah.

Not that, uh, I know about this, uh...first-hand....

Shit.

Re:Squirt me three random songs! (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891892)

Correction: did I say 'misinterpreted?' I meant 'interpreted.'

Re:Squirt me three random songs! (1)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892158)

True dat! Squirt has not yet passed into the lexicon, as Mr. Ballmer would hope. Until it does, maybe "what's your favorite distro?" might weed out the anti-techie types.

Music is essentially universal (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891548)

Music us everywhere, for the big global bands and artists there is generally something to discuss.
It breaks the ice.

Re:Music is essentially universal (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891914)

Pain is universal too. And at my age, the ice breaker for me meeting new friends is, "So, who you seeing for your liver spots?". And, the article mentions the average age was 18 I believe.

How much information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891564)

None, generally. The only things I've ever been able to draw out regarding somebody's personality from their taste in music is broad stereotypes which are invariably discarded mere minutes later. Music, despite how much I hear about it from others, has always proved to be completely free of any real personal content.

That does not mean it's useless, of course. Quite the opposite; it is a topic of conversation which is safe without always being boring, and provides a quick way to find superficial common ground with somebody. I don't get to talk to strangers much, but I am told that's how it's done.

Music is "easy" (5, Insightful)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891578)

Once you get past the introductions and the "I like everything except rap/metal/country (choose your typical singled out genre)", there's still plenty to talk about. Songs in general have a good combination of easy to understand qualitative concepts that extend beyond "this is better than that" to discuss. There's also the element of, "Hey we both like this ___, have you tried listening to ___?" Movies are the same way (as shown in that poll), though I'm a little surprised music beat movies by that much.

I like looking at little kids in diapers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891588)

playing at the park or when you bring them to the grocery store. hot!!!

Uh oh... (1)

Kengou (996204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891616)

I don't really listen to music. Does that mean I have no personality?

Great idea for next /. poll (5, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891634)

"Once past saying 'hello' and 'how are you?' to someone you've just met, what is next?"

* Retreat back to cube and resume coding
* Avoid eye contact and hope someone else comes along to relieve you from having to make conversation
* Launch into a rant
* "I don't have friends/conversations/etc, you insensitive clod!"
* Generic Cowboy Neal reference

Re:Great idea for next /. poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891840)

I pull out the marriage bag like Borat.

Re:Great idea for next /. poll (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892262)

You need a dupe option, so say "hello" and "how are you?" a second time.

Oh yeah, I can see the conversation... (4, Funny)

VE3OGG (1034632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891660)

Guy:Hey
Girl:Hey

Guy:Hey, I've got a nano!
Girl:I have to go... and... wash my hair...

Random sample (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891662)

Is this a random sample across all demographics and locations? I bet it isn't. It's probably one of those social science experiments where they draw sweeping conclusions about the whole of humanity by interviewing 30 college students.

Or am I too cynical?
 

F.O.R.M. (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891774)

i been away for awhile so i forget the kinda articles sometimes on /. OF course music is a relevant subject of interests. its one of the easiest ways to break the ice and see how compatible someone is with you. let me help the hapless /.ers who haven't been laid in awhile. don't get tongue tied when you talking to a chick. keep this accronym in mind. FORM. Family Occupation Recreation Music. thats my .02 cents any more info on how to get layed is gonna cost you. I open to bargaining i have this seg fault i can't figure out...

Re:Random sample (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891812)

Ha! I was right - just checked the paper, it was with 60 undergraduate students. Apparently the other topics of conversation were:

1) How drunk you got last night.
2) Which lecturer you hate the most.
3) Have you written that stupid paper yet.
4) Are you going to the club tonight.

Re:Random sample (1)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892056)

Yeah that's what drives me crazy about all the so-called "studies" posted here. There's a reason you won't see anything about this anywhere else: this is not a real study, it's an opinion piece with targeted results masquerading as "proof". Lame-o.

Sounds about right... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891684)

I'm the new hire at work, found out our webdesigner makes her own techno and does some DJ work, and struck up a conversation on that. Then she got me addicted to WoW and won't start a new character. :(

The Zune (1)

jcarkeys (925469) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891692)

Conclusive proof that the Zune helps people socialize. Microsoft needs to start advertising that!

High Fidelity (2, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891720)

"What really matters is what you like, not what you are like. Books, records, films -- these things matter."

Re:High Fidelity (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892072)

One of my favorite movies..Better yet,

"Was I listening to pop music because I was depressed, or was i depressed because I was listening to pop music?"

I don't think there's anything profound here. (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891728)

Music just has the right characteristics to be a good conversation topic.

Unless your a farmer or a meteorologist, you can't talk for more than a few seconds about the weather.

Sex, politics, and religion are way too dangerous.

But there is a lot of music, there is a lot to talk about, the chances are that two people selected at random know a lot more of the same music than the same books, the same movies, etc.

You can care enough about music to have a spirited, passionate discussion about it, but few people care so much about it that disagreements could lead to violence, or even to the breakup of a budding friendship.

If you take someone home to meet your parents, you don't need to worry about whether that person's taste in music will match your parents or not.

Re:I don't think there's anything profound here. (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891942)

Sex, politics, and religion are way too dangerous.
"As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll."
-Mick Shrimpton

Re:I don't think there's anything profound here. (1)

ab0mb88 (541388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892030)

You are looking at these conversations from too simple of an angle. A conversation that only lasts a few minutes about music is almost guaranteed to give some insight into your views and attitudes towards sex, politics, and religion. Most music will have some lean on one of these topics so if you discuss music for very long you should get some idea where someone stands on at least one of these issues, and if everything they like is free of any discussion of all of these basic aspects of life that says something about them as well.

Just note (2, Insightful)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891748)

FTA

One really important caveat for this study was that the average age of the participants was around 18 so this finding might not hold in different age-groups.

When 50 or 70 year old persons meet they probably would talk other things.

Re:Just note (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891858)

I talk about other things and I'm in my mid-twenties. Musical tastes don't make a shit of a difference to me (or anyone that I have dated) when selecting a mate.

Honestly, if someone found that they were incompatible with me because of the music I listen to, I would have a hard time believing that they were worth it.

Re:Just note (3, Interesting)

mopower70 (250015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891996)

I'm not quite 50, but I can get a pretty good feel for how I'm going to relate with someone by mentioning the Iraq occupation or global warming. They're charged enough topics that you can get a feel for the person's political, social, and religious leanings without the overt hostility you'd get from mentioning, say, abortion or affirmative action. The responses are usually along a broad spectrum and give enough color to figure out how sympatico you'll be.

Her - I love you (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891754)

Me - I love you too.
Her - Yeah, they are a great band.

Re:Her - I love you (1)

ironring2006 (968941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892014)

Me - Who? Her - No, not who, you too! Me - the band? Her - No, not the band the band, you too the band! Me - Umm, yeah, I love you too too

Phooey (4, Funny)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891760)

My first question is "Do you know what Linux is?". I find that is infinitely more helpful than asking what music somebody likes.

Re:Phooey (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891954)


Yeah, that weeds out the hotties real quick.

Apologies to all the smokin' female Linux users out there...

Re:Phooey (1)

marto (110299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892018)

Interesting approach. As a matter of interest how many people of your sexual preference have known what Linux is? If they say no do you plan on converting them away from Windows ME :P

Re:Phooey (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892190)

As of yet, I have not had anyone I didn't know before say "yes". If they say no, I then ask if they know what Firefox is. I get a lot more positive results on this one.

I guess I am one of the extreme cultural minorities, because:
1. I use Linux
2. I use Firefox
3. I program
4. I love classical music, and hate it when people blather about junk bands.

So I usually try to avoid the music topic.

personalized (2, Interesting)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891768)

music is very personalized and ubiquitous. There's probably very few people in America who haven't heard the top 5 songs of the day, whether they like them or not. Music is also easily accessible. In 3 - 5 minutes, a song could deliver lyrics that could change your mood or teach you things - like a little psychology session. And, people usually listen to music at any time for different things. People have music to study to, dance to, listen to when they're happy and music for depression. The easily accessible 3 minute package makes it easy to have music a part of your life unlike any other form of media. Books require a lot of attention and time, and tv isn't as portable and requires too much attention as well. It's really not surprising that music choices are the biggest conversation topic.

Re:personalized (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892008)

That's an interesting thought.

The Billboard Hot 100

  1. Beyonce
    Irreplaceable

  2. Fall Out Boy
    This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race

  3. Nelly Furtado
    Say It Right

  4. Daughtry
    It's Not Over

  5. Akon Featuring Snoop Dogg
    I Wanna Love You


I've heard of Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, and Nelly. I don't know that I've heard any of these songs. It's possible that I've insulated myself sufficiently by listening to Old Fogey Radio.

Do they still have charts? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892204)

Shows how out of touch I am. I don't know anyone who buys singles so I've no idea what "top N songs" could even mean.

my ipod (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891796)

The only thing on my iPod is the soothing sounds of Crispin Hellion Glover. [amazon.com] What does that say about me?

Re:my ipod (3, Funny)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892170)

The only thing on my iPod is the soothing sounds of Crispin Hellion Glover. What does that say about me?
You've got an older, low-capacity Shuffle?

Re:my ipod (1)

Grym (725290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892292)

The only thing on my iPod is the soothing sounds of Crispin Hellion Glover. What does that say about me?

It's interesting that you should bring that up, because the results show that you have latent beastality tendencies... and you touch yourself at night.

Just kidding. As other people have mentioned, this study doesn't mean much at all. People just talk about music because it's an ice-breaker. It prevents dreaded conversational deadspace that can make even the most extroverted of us akward. Can you tell something about a person by the music he or she prefers? Sure. But certainly not enough to make proper dating decision. Notice how none of the traits they bring up are bad. They all indicate positive traits like emotionally stable, extroverted, or intellectual, not bad attributes like violent, ignorant, or divisive which, honestly, would be far more informative.

Just another pop-psychology study to be discarded with the rest. Move along, nothing to see here.

-Grym

shit (5, Funny)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891804)

Psychologists have talked about the importance of body language, physical appearance and clothing.
Physical appearance and clothing matters?! Now that's what I call News for Nerds.

My deepest darkest seceret (5, Funny)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891866)

I shall share it with you now... Because I just cannot continue to hide it in my MP3 player: I find Abba to be really catchy. Hell, I may even mouth the lyrics... okay... its more than mouthing. I know, I should be ashamed of myself. I'm straight...I swear!

Re:My deepest darkest seceret (1)

ironring2006 (968941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892132)

Hey, I don't want to sound queer or nothing, but I think Depeche Mode is a kick-ass band!

...Orgazmo [imdb.com]

A human being != a personality (5, Interesting)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891902)

How do we make friends and get to know other people?

I hate shit like this. Question: Do you want to know how to make friends, or do you want to make friends? Because when you start to look for the secret procedure behind friendship, you start looking at people as if they were abstract personalities, with some quanitifiable set of properties, and you stop looking at them as human beings. And this attitude can prevent you from actually connecting with them. It's completely absurd. Not everything is meant to be turned into cold science.

Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17892000)

I'm taking you off my friends list.

Re:A human being != a personality (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892140)

I'd mod you insightful if I had points. However, you are being a bit mean to all of the people who will never actually become people themselves. The best they have to hope for is to follow directions and become the kind of automaton that others want them to be. And you want to take that away. Thank you for taking the time to make them feed bad - I hate them too. =)

Re:A human being != a personality (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892148)

Wow, that was one of the strangest posts I've seen here. Is sociology now evil? If you're not interested, don't read the fucking study.

Definitly nothing profound (5, Interesting)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891908)

they said the average age was like 18. What do 18 year olds have to talk about with random peers? If you mix an accountant and a construction worker, they may have similarities in that they may have kids, be sick of the boss, have funny co-worker stories.

Most 18 year olds don't have profound achievements that have a commonality. If you have kids, you don't mind hearing about other people's kids. If you're in physics club, you probably don't want to hear about a wrestling match.

Studies also show that teenagers blow at empathetic responses, so it harder to tell if someone is interested by subtle clues. If someone follows along on the conversation, its a go... So music is the most common ground shared by all teens.

Except me, i really didn't ever listen to the radio.

Less chance of looking like a dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891918)

I would think it would have something to do with not wanting to admit you still watch Saturday morning Spiderman (mostly the guys) or Hello Kitty (chicks), and thus appearing immature...

Subconscious Connection? (2, Interesting)

Mephistophocles (930357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891934)

It would be interesting to see this study taken further. I suspect that there is more to this than just coincidence - that is, one will probably find that people with similar tastes in music often have similar political/religious/philosophical views, education, perhaps even similar skills/interests, childhood experiences, etc. It's just a hypothesis, but I bet there's some truth to it. Any psychologists out there know of such a study having been done?

It's not that it's useful (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891980)

More that it's non-threatening. When you are first getting to know someone, you usually aren't up for divulging your most personal secrets. However, you do need something to talk about other than the weather. Things like music are a good starting point. You probably don't really get, or give, much useful info about yourself but it is something to talk about and helps you get more familiar.

Relationships are about emotion, there's not always logic to how or why we do things.

informati8ve cOckcock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17891992)

TherE's 8o

playlist sharing (2, Interesting)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17891998)

Yesterday I was at a small party, the music was from an iPod. One song caught my attention, and I wanted to know what song and artist it was.

It would be nice to have this feature on the (wireless/bluetooth enabled) digital music players: an option to share the playlist, so I could get my cellphone and read (and store) the info on the music being played.

I see great potential (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892010)

With combining this with a service like last.fm since it already automatically finds people with similar musical taste as you. Last.fm as a music dating service?

You're defined by your subculture... (4, Insightful)

Aptgetupdate (1051164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892016)

and your subculture is most accurately represented by its music acts.

I can determine more about a person I meet from, "I like Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake" or "I have two playlists: GWAR, and other" (including their willingness to admit either of those) than I can from half a dozen other interests and opinions.

Clothing often crosses subcultures, as do slang, political opinion, religious belief and behavior, but there are very people whose personality and approach to life will defy their music tastes. When was the last time you met a hyper-aggressive, Type-A asshole who lists smooth Jazz before Metallica?

Of course, when you meet someone who says they like "everything" and then proceeds to list mainstream rock AND mainstream rap, know the conversation doesn't need to proceed any further because they're a fucking toolbox.

Music (1)

SandwhichMaster (1044184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892020)

You can tell a lot about someone by their taste in music. I think the music you listen to reflects (but not necessarily defines) your personality. What would your first impressions be if someone says they mostly listens to angry music? Dance music? Ska? The Cure? Greatful dead? etc.

So... (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892026)

we have a study in TFA that claims people are prone to discuss music when meeting each other, but on Slashdot the discussion about TFA is minimally good, at best, and yet most of it is about music. /. isn't quite the place to be making the point that Fallout Boy sucks.

The results of this study though aren't terribly surprising - as mentioned above, one of the first (and most important things) I talk about when meeting someone new is music. And it makes sense that its such a great topic of discussion - music is everywhere in our lives: on TV, movies, in the car, on the bus, football games, malls, convience stores - hell, I got pulled by a cop once who was listening to a local country station in his cruiser.

All throughout childhood, riding in the car on long trips or even just sitting at home with my parents, there would always be some kind of music playing. Oldies, jazz, the Eagles, etc., and all of that exposure has molded my ideas about music and when I meet someone new, comparing musical tastes is great because it allows you to connect to someone else almost instantly - I don't know your name, but you're a Fugazi fan, so lets talk about Fugazi to break the ice...it works better than the traditional icebreakers - I mean, imagine meeting someone and having them say "OK, you just cross your arms and fall backwards and I'll catch you - oh, and hi, I'm John."

Safe and sure (1)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892054)

Two things.

One, it's a common interest. Lots of people don't read. Many aren't into painting or cars or gaming or photography or other hobbies. But it's rare to find a person so uninterested in music that they can't converse on the topic at even a superficial level, even if all they hear is what's playing on the radio at work.

Second, it's a safe topic of discussion. It's not religion or politics, and it's even unlikely to segue into those topics.

So "when you first meet people," it makes sense that it's a popular topic of conversation. You have a high likelihood of actually being able to converse, and a low likelihood of pissing people off.

for the same reason music is useful in religion (2, Interesting)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892096)

music is directly emotional in a way that movies aren't. it's also highly interpretive, so WHY someone likes something is as important as what they like. it reveals how deeply they think about that certain part of themselves that is ecstatic and interpretive.

there are very valuable emotions communicated by very shoddy musicianship. there are very bland emotions communicated by overproduced garbage. the conglomeration of what people like is telling at least of what they're going through at the moment.

it tells you if they're into ecstatic fun stuff, if they're into sad stuff, angry stuff. music is cathartic and healing, and it shows you what the person needs. it can be revealing if they view it as entertainment, or just background noise.

the kiss of death for me is, "I like all music," um... like what? "Oh, I listen to everything," and what are some bands you like... "[billboard top 5]" if people like music I don't like, but like it for a reason, and are interested in it, then I'm fine with that. but then, I'm a musician. when people ask me about painters, I say the same thing. :-)

that's my opinion anyway.

Music Is Universally Enjoyed (2, Informative)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892108)

People might enjoy a wide variety of music, or they may have narrow tastes. But I've never met anyone who hated all music.

I know people who hate television and movies, calling them "useless time-wasters". I know people who don't like ice cream and hate dogs. I even know somebody who hates nearly everybody else. But music is different. Some people don't notice it much, but even they know what they like.

People know that their musical choices are very personal. If you ask what kind of music they like, they get a chance to talk about themselves. And many are proud of their musical taste. It's like fine wine. Some people are connoiseurs, and some just drink whatever is available. And a wine expert generally just LOVES to talk about wine.

For anybody who thinks that showing disdain for some form of music somehow increases their credibility on the subject, remember this: nothing turns off somebody else faster than saying their favorite band/artist sucks.

it's networking, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17892114)

The only way to learn the name of a band is to have a real, live human being tell you it. This isn't true of clothing brands, of film or television, of interests or hobbies, of favorite authors or magazine subscriptions. I guarantee that if someone on Slashdot mentions 3 bands "as examples" of bands, it tells you more about that person than it does about the bands. This isn't true for anything else.

Diet Coke, Snapple, Gatorade.

Everyone likes something (1)

Takehiko (20798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892138)

Music is a great conversation piece because everyone likes some kind of music. No matter if you're male or female, rich or poor, smart or stupid, you have to like some kind of music. "What kind of music do you like?" is a safe question that everyone will have an answer to. As opposed to something like politics that the other person may have no idea about or could potentially be offended by your own view points.

The great communicator (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892150)

Music can make or break a relationship. It's always an easy topic to start off with because everyone listens to music. If you don't you're either deaf or very boring and even deaf people like to "listen" to bass lines. People find it easy to discuss their musical tastes so its an efficient ice breaker. However, deeper psychological connotations of musical taste differs greatly from person to person.

Instant Agreement and Non-threatening (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892182)

I've always been aware that when people get together they tend to talk about music, and it's always disgusted me. The reason it disgusts me is that they are not talking about music because they have really strongly felt preferences or something of interest to say but because you can always find someway to agree and the conversation topic is so bland it won't frighten anyone off. Music has two properties that make it so apt for this purpose.

First of all it is all about preferences so it isn't intimidating like history, mathematics, science, religion or anything else with definite answers you could be wrong about. History might otherwise be a good topic to talk about at a party but it intimidates many people because they don't want to admit they don't know things nor turn out to say something and have it be wrong. Admittedly hipsters are pretty good at turning music into a similar sort of topic but if you are inclined to be friendly with someone there is nothing you *need* to correct them about as you might with history.

Second of all the terminology and the classifications are sufficiently vague and deep that it is easy to subconciously twist your responses into agreement. I mean suppose she asks how you feel about rap, maybe you say something negative she can respond by saying, how can you not like so-and-so at which point you can clarify well their okay what I really dislike is Y or I don't know I've only heard Z type of rap. It might sound slimy but just listen to any two people who are meeting and want to like each other talking about music and you will see everyone tries hard to end up agreeing. Also since music is such a broad topic with various small preferences you will likely uncover SOME interest that you two have in common.

I mean how the hell do you think we get so many people excited about the boy/girl they met b/c 'we both like band Y' or 'we both hate punk'.

Music is a non-conversation. It is a way to make noises while avoiding actually saying anything of substance and that really annoys me. I want to know something about the personality of the people I meet not hear generic drivel. Sure one could talk about music reasonably that's what music critics and hardcore aficionados do but when they talk about it agreement isn't the normal course of business.

--

By the way "likes jazz" usually means "I want people to think I'm deep and intellectual." Now often that is correlated with really being an intellectual but that isn't what it indicates. I know this is tough to believe but what music you like is just a matter of taste, just like what food you like. Preferring fine french dining to burgers and beer may show you have spent time refining your pallet and indicate a certain social class but it doesn't say anything about being an intellectual, being smart or anything of the kind. Similarly with what music you like.

Re:Instant Agreement and Non-threatening (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892232)

Or maybe a better way of putting the point is that music is non-threatening and it is easy for you to trick yourself into agreeing with someone. There are so many bands that you probably feel 'ehh' about it isn't too hard to think you like them when the person your talking to clearly wants you to like them.

Furthermore, once you've convinced yourself you like them you often will so it won't fall apart later.

Don't judge people (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892192)

Don't judge people by the music they listen to,

Judge them by whether or not they try to force YOU to listen to it.

I likes me some quiet time.

The Onion has been at this for a while (3, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892194)

The Onion has a feature called Random Rules. [avclub.com] They take a celebrity type person and put their MP3 player on random. Then have the person being interviewed discusses what happens to come up on their player.

It's actually a pretty good feature. I especially liked the one with Gerald Casale.

How do we get to know other people? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892296)

Well, there's that whole "talking" thing. Do people really need gadgets now to have a conversation?

Country music Stable (1)

lazlow (94602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892308)

I thought Country Music caused incest.

The Culture of Music The Sound of Music (3, Interesting)

WilliamCotton (856410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17892324)

Well, for one, knowing what kind of music someone else listens to is a great way to find out a lot of cultural similarities between yourself and them. Pieces of music seem to compact weeks worth of communication in to a short length of time. If you and another individual are in to the same obscure indie rock band, you're probably going to have a lot of cultural connections. The thing is, it's never really about the music. The non-musical aspects are much more important. How we first came to hear a certain piece, who told us about it, who else listens to it, when it was from, why it was made... all of these are more important than the chord structure, lyrics, melody, and form of the song or piece.

IAAMusician, and let me be the first to tell you that coming to this realization was not easy at first, probably due to the fact that I had to first learn and internalize most of the fundamentals of music, which kept me focused on the structural aspects. That being said, I still have no idea what music is or why I enjoy to make or listen to it. I do know that most people refuse to believe that the reason they don't like rap music isn't because of the sonic structures or lyrical content of the music rather the fact that they cannot relate to the culture that is responsible for its creation. Most musicians I know refuse to believe this as well, and while I cannot even come close to proving my thoughts on this, I know that if it is not the most important aspect of music, it is at least partially true.

For example, last night, I was coming back from a friend's place, and I took a cab, not the easiest thing to do right after the Superbowl ends, especially in New York City. I was lucky enough to get a cab almost right away. The driver, as usual, was minding his own business. He was listening to a type of ethnic music typically known as Hindustani, originating from the Northern parts of India, near the Pakistani border, but also closely associated to Bangalore. I'm pretty in to this kind of music, the vocal styles, the tablas, the sitars here and there. However, he was used to the fact that most white dudes would probably rather listen to classic rock and offered to change to a radio station of my choice. I told him that I was enjoying this music, and immediately, he sprung to life! He handed me the album case and started telling me all about who this guy was that had written the songs, who the singer was, and tons of other information about the music and the culture behind it. Apparently, it was all written by this man, Rabindranath Tagore [wikipedia.org] , who my cabbie enthusiastically told me was the first person from Asia to win the Nobel Prize, AND, that he had written all of his work in his native language. He was overflowing with pride. Not wanting to be the cultural hog of the conversation, he grabbed another CD case from the front and passed it back. It was a compilation of the Greatest Love Songs, with stuff like Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, etc... He had grown fond of listening to an Adult Contemporary station here in NYC and bought some albums and he was really in to it! I told him that if he enjoyed these songs, he would love one of my favorite songwriters, Burt Bacharach. At the end of the journey we both exchanged information about the artists we had recommended to each other and completed our cultural exchange.

So your musical preferences will have a direct relation to your cultural preferences. How all of this applies to todays hyper-culture, with it's multitudes of sub genres and opinions scattered left and right, I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I wouldn't have a hard time believing that if two people are both into neo-industrial-hardcore-skate-ska that there would be enough of a cultural/personality match for them to make a good couple.

So, no offense to all of you Julie Andrews fans out there, but the sound of music really doesn't seem to be as important as the culture of music.
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