I wrote previously about research on the correlations between personality and music preference. A new study by Jeremy Dean, et al has some interesting results. The participants filled out a personality questionnaire which measured their strength in five personality factors: extraversion, openness to experience, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. These participants also took the Short Test of Musical Preferences (STOMP). STOMP is basically the same as the online test I linked to, except STOMP has only 14 music categories, whereas the online version adds Bluegrass, New Age, International, Reggae, Gospel, Opera, Oldies, Punk, and separates Funk from Soul/R&B. STOMP gives a result in four music preference dimensions: Reflective & Complex (Classical, Blues, Folk, and Jazz), Intense & Rebellious (Alternative, Rock, and Heavy Metal), Upbeat & Conventional (Country, Religious, Pop, and Soundtracks), and Energetic & Rhythmic (Dance/Electronica, Rap/hip-hop, and Soul/funk). I don't see the point in these dimensions if there isn't acknowledged overlap of genres. Pick dimensions that each genre has different strengths (averaged), so a true multidimensional picture can be developed. Ahem!
Dean, Yu & Epps broke the participants into two groups by age: 18-30 years, and over 30 years. The younger group had only two correlations between music preference dimensions and personality traits: openness to experience correlated with Reflective & Complex (r = .4) and with Intense & Rebellious (r = .19). The older group had four correlations: the two from the younger group plus conscientiousness correlated with Upbeat & Conventional (r = .29) and agreeableness also correlated with Upbeat & Conventional (r = .31). They interpret these results as an indication that younger listeners have not settled in their social identities, which affects their musical preferences.
Do you think personality traits should be compared with genre preferences, or preferences based on more abstract musical traits like timbre, tempo, or loudness? I'd be very interested to see results based on the latter, since genres are not monolithic.