Looking for a Rich Guy on the Internet? A Hot Chick?   by Susan Dunn

Looking for a rich guy on the Internet? Make sure he likes to listen to music that is Upbeat and Conventional - like country, sound tracks, religious, and pop.

Looking for a hot chick? Avoid the one who likes opera or classical music. (Assuming you define "hot" as "physical attractiveness.") Looking for trouble? Rock, alternative, and heavy metal.

However, be prepared for that rich guy who likes upbeat and conventional music to also be emotionally unstable, not open to experience, domineering ("social dominance orientation"), conservative, dumb and have low verbal ability. But not depressed!

As we sort of innately know, it turns out that someone's musical taste is one of the quickest and surest ways to find out what they're like, sight unseen. It turns out, according to recent papers by Rentfrow and Gosling, two social psychologists, taste in music is the most often discussed topic between people getting to know one another on the Internet, and that we aren't fools - it's pretty good at telling you what the person will be like.

They don't mention compatibility, but for those of us seeking compatibility along with our "love," I don't know about you, but when I find a guy who likes the same music I do, to the same degree, I feel like I've found a soul-mate.

As opposed to cognitive psychologists, social psychologists haven't give much attention to the study of music - only 7 key articles on it published between 1965 and 2002 in leading social psych. Journals (out of about 11,000 articles).

Well, our heroes, P. J. Rentfrow and S. D. Gosling set about to remedy this. First they asked people how well they thought a person's taste in music revealed what they were like, and most lay people said only "hobbies and activities" revealed more. TV, books and movies were way down the list, with TV revealing the least. This held true for what the person thought it revealed about him/herself, and about others.

Then they developed a questionnaire called STOMP (Short Test of Musical Preference) and came up with the following categories of preference:

1. Reflective and Complex (Jazz, blues, classical and folk)
2. Upbeat and Conventional (country, sound tracks, religious and pop)
3. Energetic and Rhythmic (rap, hip/hop, soul and funk, electronica and dance)
4. Intense and Rebellious (rock, alternative and heavy metal)

When they administered STOMP along with personality measures, the results were quite revealing. For instance, Reflective and Complex was positively correlated with openness to experience, self-perceived intelligence, verbal ability, emotional stability, and political liberalism, but negatively correlated with social dominance orientation, political conservatism, wealth and athleticism.

Other categories in the personality profile were physical attractiveness, depression, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, self-esteem, and so forth. Pretty much covers the whole deal and they found that music preference did, indeed, reveal information about personality differences.

Then, and this is what's important to us Internet daters - they set about testing to see if the average joe uses this information when getting to know someone. This is kind of a big DOH - I know I do. Don't you? If you've ever lived with someone (like teens, ha ha) you know that their taste in music (and even if they don't like any music, and you do) can make or break your daily life. After all, political discussions can only go on for so long, but music can be the background fabric of your very life (see Club Vivo Per Lei - I live for music - www.susandunn.cc/vivoperlei.htm )

Well, they paired up folks on an on-line bulletin-board system, both same-sex and opposite-sex. And this is what 's really amazing. It turned out that while they could talk about anything they thought would acquaint them bets, music was more often discussed than all other activities combined. Hey! We're smarter than we look! It wasn't until the 6th week of participation, that the amount of time they spent talking about all other things (ALL OTHER THINGS) equaled their discussion of music.

Were they just talking about what they love, or were they trying to find a match - or is it the same thing?

Not trusting us (ha ha) Rentfrow and Gosling then proceeded to test the accuracy of these perceptions and found they were quite accurate. In sum, it looks like if you aren't talking about music with the person you're thinking about pairing up with, you're missing the major clue to their personality. And it's my personal interjection here, as a dating coach, that you are also missing a major clue to your compatibility; and as an emotional intelligence coach, a major clue to their emotional intelligence.

So how about "What's your favorite CD?" instead of "What's your sign?"

About the Author

Susan Dunn, MA, EQ and Dating Coach, www.susandunn.cc, mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc . Susan consults and coaches emotional intelligence and its applications - dating, stress, balance, retirement, career, wellness, success. Email for free ezine.