Research Topic

Associations between personality and music: Aptitude, training, and preferences

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Music engages people everywhere and has done so throughout history. Thirty thousand years ago, music played an important role in the lives of Neanderthals, and music continues to play an important role in contemporary life. In the past, almost everyone was involved in creating and performing music, ...

Music engages people everywhere and has done so throughout history. Thirty thousand years ago, music played an important role in the lives of Neanderthals, and music continues to play an important role in contemporary life. In the past, almost everyone was involved in creating and performing music, particularly at important social events and rites of passage. In contemporary Western society, however, although people spend a lot of their spare time listening to music, very few become accomplished performers.

What factors determine who takes music lessons? Liking music and the functional use of music are known to be associated with personality. For example, people who score high on the dimension of personality called “openness-to-experience” tend to prefer diverse and complex styles of music. Another personality dimension, “neuroticism,” is associated with music listening as a means to regulate emotional state. Even the decision about taking music lessons is influenced by personality, with openness-to-experience associated positively with duration of music training.

In sum, music is important for most people, yet individuals differ markedly in their involvement with music. The aim of this research topic is to draw together multiple perspectives on the association between individual differences in personality and music. Specific topics include associations between personality and music preferences, the relation between music aptitude and personality, and the association between music training and individual differences in personality. This research topic aims to bring together the latest work of researchers in the area, in order to give them the opportunity to present new ideas and approaches that will deepen our understanding of associations between personality and music. While authors must ensure that papers fall within the scope of the section, as expressed in its mission statement, with a primary focus on psychology theory and content, they are encouraged to draw from music and related fields to enrich their papers, where relevant.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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