The Influence of Characteristics on Music Enjoyment and Preference
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Past research has indicated that two specific personality traits, openness and empathy, may contribute to greater enjoyment of music that expresses negative emotions. Individuals with elevated levels of depressive symptoms may similarly have a preference for negative music. However, no research to date has explored the impact of both personality traits and depressive symptoms in the same investigation. The current study measured both music enjoyment (how much people like certain music) and music preference (how often people choose to listen to certain music) after exposure to negative, neutral, and positive music. Supporting prior research, this study indicated that individuals high in overall empathy (the ability to experience the emotions of another) had a greater enjoyment of negative emotional music. No relationship was found between openness or depression for either music enjoyment or music preference. Further analysis of the data indicates a possible association between music-specific measures of personality and music enjoyment/preference. Future research will be needed to investigate the strength of this relationship.