Music is subjective, with everyone’s taste being different. Even with the most popular music genres, everyone differs. Some people still listen to 80s music in 2022, while others are only interested in the next new hit. Both of those scenarios are acceptable. Most people don’t understand why they enjoy the music they do and will usually say it’s just one of those things. But what if there are factors that decide our taste in music? Would you not like to know why you love Meg Thee Stallion or why Bon Jovi is your favorite band of all time? Well, if you do, we’ve looked at exactly why that’s the case.
Your background and culture
A lot about who we are as people is predetermined by our background, specifically with a focus on our culture. We are born into it and have no control over it in our early years. However, as you get older, you are more than likely going to question certain aspects of your culture. Even change it. If you are lucky, you probably questioned some things when you were young. Nevertheless, in many parts of the world, music is the biggest part of the culture. In Africa, you will find certain countries incorporate traditional music into every setting. The same can be said for the East. Now let’s look at what science says.
How do you process information?
Some studies suggest that we like certain music because of how we process information. In one study, researchers based the idea on the notion that there are two ways in which people respond to their surroundings. The first is empathizing, this would define someone as outgoing or extraverted. The second is systemizing, here the person would need a pre-existing notion to help them define how they need to act, which would categorize them as introverted.
With a group of people with ages ranging from 20 right up to 60 years old, a survey was conducted to determine where they fit as empathizing, systemizing, or a little bit of both. The survey asked participants to evaluate 50 songs across 26 genres. This is where things got interesting because the category they fall into matters since it shows how they respond to certain sounds as well.
Those who were classified as empathetic enjoyed mellow and contemporary music. This includes country, folk, and even dance music such as techno. Researchers believe this is because it’s much easier to express negative emotions with this type of music. Not that negative emotions are bad, but rather using them as an outlet. The empathetic participants also showed disdain towards music such as heavy metal, as well as punk. Systemizing participants showed a love for music with high energy and positivity. They enjoy classical music due to it being complex. People tend to ask what your music taste says about who you are as a person, and for the most part, actually nothing.
When does our taste in music kick in?
Science does suggest there is a certain age when we no longer enjoy contemporary music. But is it true? It might be for some and not for others. This is largely due to our personalities and the fact that each of us is different. Researchers have suggested that our taste in music first starts to develop by the age of 14, and it only peaks by the time you hit 24 years old. A former professor of psychology and the director of the laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, Daniel J. Levitin, said 14 was vital because this is when you experience hormonal growth and changes. Making everything more important to us since we are reaching a point in our cognitive development that dictates our taste in something.
At 24, we peak; after all, we are more open-minded to contemporary music because we are meeting new people and experiencing a range of different things. Professor Daniel further states that at around 24 years old, you have cemented your taste in music and will very rarely, if at all, branch out into the latest music. Interestingly, at this age, we start to experience a loss in sensitivity in our ears, and once this happens, we become sensitive to higher pitches. But this is only one aspect of it.
Our personalities are also more refined by the age of 24, and we are far less likely to change our opinions and views on things as well. We are also sure of our identity and everything that comes with this, making us less susceptible to the latest music. To end, we can see that age, as well as our personalities, is a direct link to our taste in music.