classical music lovers metal fans personality

If you love listening to classical music, it seems that you may have similar personality traits with metal fans.

Although classical music and heavy metal seem like they couldn’t be further apart musically, new research shows that fans of these genres are actually quite similar in their psychological profiles and that the two aren’t actually that dissimilar at all.

Adrian North conducted a study alongside fellow researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland of 36,000 people from six different countries.

The results were pretty interesting – both metal and classical music fans were found to be creative, gentle people who seemed at ease with themselves. A number of other traits were found to be similar in both groups of fans, which can be explained by many reasons.

North explained the similarities when speaking to the BBC,

We think the answer is that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, have something spiritual about them – they’re very dramatic – a lot happens.

These personality traits allow users to not conform to traditional mainstream music since they have more open minds than their mainstream-loving counterparts.

Other findings were quite interesting and create new stereotypes for music lovers.

Low-income individuals were found to enjoy more relaxing, peaceful music whereas the higher-earning people preferred energetic, punchy music. Jazz fans were generally found to be creative and extroverted with high self-esteem, whereas fans of country music were found to be introverted and very hard working. Soul lovers were gentle, confident and at ease with themselves, whereas rap fans were outgoing and occasionally rough. Finally, the most negative of the genres was the indie group, who were found to lack both self-esteem and a work ethic.

Further studies, such as one carried out by Viren Swami, psychologist at the University of Westminster, found that people who listen to metal music have a general openness to new experiences which can be driven by a desire to be unique, not dissimilar to those listening to classical music.

Aside from the fact the fans are similar, both music genres are similar in the ways in which they perform music. Both are highly theatrical and have enormous dynamics, attracting a certain kind of listener. Whilst this research opens up many more questions about genres of music, I think one of the main lessons we should take away from this research is not to stereotype anybody due to their musical tastes because we may not be that different after all.

What kind of music do you like listening too? Let us know in the comments.


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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.