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“What we took away from the results is that these forms of music reinforce the desire for intimacy and complement settings where people come together with the goal of establishing close relationships – parties, bars, clubs and so on.“As we settle into ourselves and acquire more resources to express ourselves – career, home, family, car – music remains an extension of this.Assign open-ended text as custom variables for data pre-population within the survey.Comment Box / Single Row Text / Numeric Input / Email Address questions are designed to collect narrative responses.Perhaps unsurprisingly, the researchers found that people actively changed the music they liked.“Of course there are not hard boundaries as people in later life do still enjoy listening to the rock and roll then enjoyed when they were younger,” said Dr Rentfrow. We use music for different reasons and there may be more nostalgia involved as we get older.” It is not just listening tastes that change, but also the tastes of those who are creating music.
The findings seem to challenge the idea that our music tastes stay the same and it is just culture that overtakes us as we get older.
The researchers point to musicians such as Sting and Paul Mc Cartney, who personified the rebellious youth culture of their time, who are now producing classical and folk albums.
“The project started with a common conception that musical taste does not evolve after young adulthood,” said Arielle Bonneville-Roussy from Cambridge’s Department of Psychology, who led the study.
“There are aspects of wanting to promote social status, intellect and wealth that play into the increased gravitation towards ‘sophisticated’ music.
“For many this life stage is frequently exhausted by work and family, and there is a requirement for relaxing, emotive music for those rare down times that reflects the other major ‘life challenge’ of this stage – that of nurturing a family and maintaining long-term relationships, perhaps the hardest of all.” The research, which is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, drew on musical preference surveys that have been completed by more than 250,000 people over a ten year period.