It turns out your iPod playlists say more about you than just the music you like. A new study conducted by the University of Cambridge finds that people form opinions about personality, values, ethnicity, and social class all based solely on musical taste.

80 young adults from the UK were asked to think about the fans of six different musical genres – rock, rap, pop, jazz, classical, and electronica. They rated fans on several personality dimensions, including extraversion and neuroticism. The participants also had to rate more personal characteristics, such as intelligence and attractiveness, as well as determine the probability that fans come from a certain ethnicity or social class.

Jazz enthusiasts are perceived as having the most positive personality. Participants labeled them as friendly and emotionally stable, while classical fans weren’t so lucky. They are considered friendly and intelligent, but also unattractive and boring.

Those with rock oriented taste are seen as artistic and rebellious; however, they are also viewed as emotionally unstable. Rap fans are labeled as athletic and energetic, but with a more hostile personality. A relationship was also established between genre and social class,  classical being associated with upper-class and rap with lower-classes.

The researchers found that the characteristics associated with each genre were relatively consistent, signifying that theses stereotypes are well established.

According to the study’s news release:

The researchers also argue that the way in which these genres are portrayed by artists and in the media appears to reinforce, and therefore perpetuate, such stereotypes.

‘It is now common practice to list your favourite bands on sites like MySpace or Facebook,’ Dr. [Jason] Rentfrow added. ‘This research shows that in doing so, many of us are also making clear public statements of who we are and how we should be perceived, whether we are conscious of that or not.’

The study is published in the journal Group Processes And Intergroup Relations. But we think the Specials said it all back in 1980.

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