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Identity dimensions and age as predictors of adult music preferences

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date2013
Host publicationDeveloping the musician: contemporary perspectives on teaching and learning
EditorsMary Stakelum
Place of PublicationFarnham
Number of pages22
ISBN (electronic)9781409450184
ISBN (print)9781409450177
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameSEMPRE Studies in the Psychology of Music


Recent empirical research in music psychology has established that personality trait profiling may provide a reliable prediction of music preferences. However, research has largely focused on the adolescent age group. Whether adults similarly use music as a tool to construct and reconstruct identities following lifespan experiences is largely understudied. This paper presents the results of an on-line survey which was carried out at Lancaster University to expand recent empirical research on music preferences. The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between personality traits, age and identity dimensions as predictors of music preferences. A large sample (n=768), ages ranging from 17-66 (X=23.9; SD=8.95) completed the survey. Music preference ratings were assessed using STOMP-R. The BFI and the EIPQ were used for personality trait and identity status measurement respectively. Results largely supported recent research except for one notable exception; there was almost zero correlation between Openness and the Upbeat & Conventional Dimension, as opposed to a significant negative correlation. Age comparisons were made between younger participants (17-24 years) and older participants (25-66years). Standard multiple regression analysis revealed highly significant effects of Age and Identity dimensions to predict music preferences. Comparisons of music preference ratings between the older and younger participants demonstrated significant differences. Interestingly, adjusted R2 scores would suggest that these individual differences only account for less than 20% of variance in music preferences. Consequently, further research on music preferences may adopt a more socially constructive methodology to identify how music preference selection reflects the evolving salient identities through maturation.