Personality and Musical Aptitude

I ran across an interesting story yesterday on Huffington post by science editor Jacqueline Howard that looks at some new research showing links between personality traits and musical aptitude and appreciation.  She’s primarily reporting on a new study in the Journal of Research in Personality, by lead author David Greenburg, wherein Greenburg finds that “personality predicted musical sophistication even after controlling for demographic variables and musicianship, with Openness to Aesthetics the best trait predictor.”

The study was large, with over 7,000 participants, and from the outside it looks quite solid.  The abstract presents a bulleted summary of highlights:

  • We used data from a large national survey (N = 7870).
  • Musical sophistication was assessed with self-report and behavioral ability tests.
  • Personality traits predicted musical sophistication and ability.
  • Openness to Aesthetics was the strongest trait predictor.
  • Substance use was also a predictor of musical sophistication.

My man’s back in grad school at the moment, so I’ve asked him to use his library privileges to download the article for me.  If there are any fascinating devils in the details I’ll write more.

Thanks for reading.


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