Listening to gospel music 'unexpectedly' linked to several maladaptive traits
Before you judge someone's personality based in their playlist, you may want to read the results of this study.
- New research predicts links between music and film preferences and recent models of unhealthy and psychopathic personality traits.
- A study on 379 participants found that conservative music tastes and a preference for faith-based movies that were the most strongly correlated to dysfunctional personality traits.
- Psychopathy's component of "boldness" corresponded to enjoyment of rhythmic beats, like R&B and party music.
New research suggests that certain music and film preferences may indicate psychopathy and other dysfunctional personality traits. And they're probably not the kinds of songs and movies you would predict.
Media use is a kind of expression of identity. So it's no wonder that our preferences reveal something about our personality traits. A recent study, published in the journal Psychology of Music on August 13, linked maladaptive personality traits and psychopathy to music and movie genre preferences. Surprisingly, it was conservative music tastes and a preference for faith-based movies that were, "unexpectedly," the most strongly correlated to dysfunctional personality traits. So if you love rap or heavy metal, you're in the clear.
In the study, 379 participants completed three questionnaires to gauge their musical tastes, movie preferences, personality characteristics, and psychopathic tendencies. This was done using the Personality Inventory DSM-5, the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure, and questionnaires about music and film preferences.
What our music tastes reveal about our personalities
The study drew on earlier influential research that broke up music genre preference to four to six measurable factors: intense/rebellious, upbeat/conventional and energetic/rhythmic. It also factored in additional research that conceptualized five factors in music: mellow, unpretentious, sophisticated, intense, and contemporary. This research linked normal personality traits to certain music tastes using the five-factor model, which measures personality on the characteristics of openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
Openness, which is characterized by curiosity and appreciation for varied experiences, consistently predicted eclectic preferences in diverse music, particularly avant-garde genres. An extraverted personality is linked to preferences for fast-paced, energetic music. Agreeableness, which reflects empathy and cooperativeness, correlated with an ear for party music and popular genres like pop and hip-hop.
Abnormal personalities and media preferences
This new study sought to build on previous research to predict links between music and film preferences and recent models of unhealthy and malicious personality traits.
"This is important because valid models of personality should allow us to predict not only mental health and other health outcomes, but also day-to-day activities, like the kind of music and movies people enjoy," Blagov, an author of the study, told PsyPost.
To link music and film preferences to unhealthy psychological traits, the researchers created a model that fits maladaptive traits into the five-factor personality scales.
One finding was that people who are abnormally withdrawn do not dig energizing, upbeat, party music (measured by the "rhythmic" factor). They also tend not to enjoy intense, over-stimulating movies such as those from the horror and thriller genres. Another finding was that people whose thoughts spiral into the strange, odd, and eccentric reported enjoying a wide-range of music and movies. This was true, also, of people who self-identified as portraying the dark narcissistic and psychopathic traits of fearlessness and dominance.
Contrary to previous research, the study found no links between so-called "problem" music genres, such as heavy metal, punk, alternative rock, hip-hop, and rap, and dysfunctional personality traits. One explanation could be that this music has become more mainstream, and so it is less genuinely "rebellious" as it once was. Surprising the researchers, it was conservative music (like country and gospel genres) and faith-based movies that were the most clearly linked to neurotic, hostile, and unusually eccentric tendencies.
This came as something of a shock to the researchers because, as they note, historical research had linked religiosity to "desirable" responses and mental health.
Can you spot a psychopath through their music and film tastes?Giphy
One of the primary goals of this research was to link psychopathy to music and movie preferences. Psychopathy is a malevolent, unhealthy combination of characteristics that include superficial charm, egocentricity, grandiosity, lack of empathy, insincerity, manipulativeness, recklessness, and unreliability. These unfortunate traits predisposes these individuals to antisocial behavior. Darkest of the "dark triad of personality," psychopathy is thought to encompass three components:
- Boldness or "fearlessness dominance" (adventure seeking and low stress reactivity)
- Disinhibition (impulsivity and a lack of constraining behavior when confronted, angered or upset)
- Meanness (emotional callousness)
In this study, and as previously reported, psychopathy's component "boldness" corresponded to enjoyment of rhythmic beats, like R&B and party tunes. But, interestingly, there was no link between the hostile traits antagonism, disinhibition and meanness with intense or particularly rebellious music. Similarly, psychopathic characteristics did not relate to a love for horror movies.
So, if you're an avid fan of heavy metal or rave music, you're probably not a psychopath. But you might exhibit some risk-taking behavior.
While the correlations between certain personalities and entertainment preferences were small, the authors say that they matter for gasping day-to-day, real-life manifestations of unhealthy or dark personality traits.
But, tempting as it might be, the authors of the study warn against using music and movie preferences to guess at a friend's (or foe's) potential psychopathology — as if their music and film preferences are subtle indicators of a twisted personality.
Why? The correlations simply aren't strong enough to use in clinical inference. Their taste in music may indicate psychopathy — or, it may just be white noise.
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- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
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