Your Taste in Music Could Be Ruining Your Dating Game

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Would you date a man or woman who only listens to Slayer? What about a Lady Gaga or Prince fan? If you have a visceral reaction to any of those ideas, then you are one of the 100% of people (not scientific) who uses musical taste to judge romantic partners. 

It turns out there's a good reason for it: Music is one of the best gauges you have of another person's values.

Years of psychological research have revealed that music plays a huge role in attraction. When two people are attempting to get to know one another, music is the most likely early topic of conversation. Musical tastes are a telling "social badge" that many feel can provide more detail about another's personality, more even than their taste in books, clothing, food, movies and TV. People can actually make some pretty accurate judgements about others' personality upon learning their musical tastes.

But it doesn't work the way you'd think. Musical taste actually suggests very little about a person's characteristics. According to research performed by Diana Boer and her team at National Taiwan University, musical tastes reveal values, one of the greatest marks of compatibility.

In her experiment, Boer presented subjects with three different potential matches — one hip-hop lover, one metalhead and one person without a stated musical taste. She asked participants to rate how similar the other person was to them on 10 personality traits and 10 values. Then she asked participants to rate how easily they would be able to get along with that person. She found that people who anticipated more shared values were more confident that person would be a better fit.

And people can judge those values from music incredibly well. They can judge another's levels of conservatism and their affinity for "self-transcendence (universalism and benevolence), self-enhancement (power and achievement) and openness to change (hedonism, stimulation and self-direction)." To hit a few examples, metalheads tend to view themselves and others as more open and socially liberal. Classical music and jazz fans place a high value on self-transcendence. Hip-hop and pop fans put a high value on self-enhancement. 

For instance, indie pop act Bleachers is 100% down with the self-enhancement.

Source: YouTube

These are the judgements people use when determining whether or not people are worth going on that second date with. So think carefully about the music you share when updating that OkCupid profile. 

The music you chose to share about yourself may make the crucial difference between attracting your soulmate, or moving you to the bottom of the heap.

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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