Which MBTI type likes certain music genres?

Please note, this article is a little different from the usual articles. I hope you enjoy, as I have spent a few days trying to put this one together, and finally decided to release it today. Enjoy!

One question I have heard many people ask, whether knowledgeable of MBTI or not, is the effect of personality on music taste. This is a question I not only want to address in relation to MBTI, but also in relation to all musical genres.

Very little research was done on the psychology of music up until the 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the 21st century that many noticeable trends were established. Many research studies have used the Big Five to measure the effects of personality on music preferences. It is firstly important to establish how the Big Five relates to MBTI. The Big Five has five traits that relate very much to the MBTI traits. These are openness to experience (similar to intuition versus sensor it is about having an open mind to ideas), agreeableness (similar to feeling versus thinking), extraversion (similar to extrovert versus introvert it is about the external world), conscientiousness (similar to judging versus perceiving, it is about the desire for task efficiency) and finally neuroticism (this is about emotional stability). To establish this research, it is important firstly to investigate the research on music tastes for certain genres, and investigate how the research relates to Big Five and therefore MBTI.

Extraversion (I vs E)

Research shows that extroverts prefer happy music like pop, hip-hop, rap, electronic music. A few theories could explain this. Firstly, extroverts are more likely to follow the popular crowd. They will listen to what is popular to talk about it with other people, whereas introverts are more about making decisions based on themselves. Secondly, extroverts generally do prefer music that doesn’t require too much thinking; considering they often focus on a few tasks at once, rather than just listening to music by itself. This is further supported, as research also shows that extroverts listen to music more and have more background music present (perhaps due to their ability to multitask?) Source

Openness (N vs S)

Openness has been shown to be one of the highest traits, therefore the difference between N and S results in a higher difference than the other letters. This makes sense, as perceiving music is one of the most influential differences in why we like certain genres. Studies show that intuitive people prefer more complex music, including classical and jazz. Source  This makes sense; this type of person have a greater appreciation for aesthetic appreciation.

Agreeableness (F vs T)

Unsurprisingly, feeling types are more emotionally affected by the music they listen to. This is because feeling types are more subjective than thinkers. Source t

Conscientiousness (J vs P)

Research shows perceiving types tend to be less judgmental of music, and will be more likely to enjoy a range of genres. Judging types, on the other hand, are more likely to enjoy exclusive genres. This can be explained because perceiving types are often more open and accepting than judging types.

What is your opinion on this information? Leave a comment below on your MBTI type and favorite type of music!


About tatl33

Hello, my name is Tim! I am an INFJ interested in psychology currently residing in Australia. My aim is to provide you with information on MBTI and how it can be related to real life situations. Enjoy :)
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52 Responses to Which MBTI type likes certain music genres?

  1. Simon says:

    My MBTI type is INFP and I like deep music. How do you rationalize that in MBTI terms??

    • tatl33 says:

      Well, introverted feeling is your primary function. Do you like deep music because it can capture what you are internally feeling? This is highly likely

  2. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This piece
    of writing posted at this site is truly fastidious.

    • tatl33 says:

      Lol sure you are a regularly reader.. Guess this is the first comment that got past my spam filter. I’ll keep your comment here as a congratulations prize.

  3. Lisa says:

    INTJ and I listen to a wide range of music – I prefer instrumental since it takes a while for me to pick up the lyrics. Worth to know is that I don’t consider music a major part of my life or major interest. I simply enjoy it mostly on an emotional level and tend to listen to music that I have heard in special circumstances: a good example is that I have listened to a lot of soundtracks from my favourite films.

  4. Claudio Li says:

    Nice article! I’m an INTJ and I love Baroque music and pop ballad. No other noisy kind of genre. I also pay particular attention to how music is recorded and mixed in my listening. While Feeling is not my dominate function, I can readily improvise music based on its mood🙂

  5. Adam says:

    I found this to be an interesting read and spot on for me. I’m an INFP and I mostly listen to progressive or experimental music, but I have a very wide range of genres I listen to.

  6. Sam says:

    Great article! However,my brand of music is considered to be somewhat unorthodox by popular/mainstream standards.Mostly a mixture of techno-pop and punk.Otherwise,I’ll listen to anything so long as I feel it relates to me/sounds unique.

  7. Christian says:

    “Secondly, extroverts generally do prefer music that doesn’t require too much thinking”

    Wut?? That appears nowhere in the source. I know that is not meant to be offensive, but which music goes into that category? – Pop songs with dumb lyrics (What does the fox say!?)?
    In my experience Sensors tend to follow hypes and favor popular music. The intuitives I know criticize such trends rather than follow them (except 7s sometimes).

  8. Anonymous says:

    I first noticed that the responders who gave their types are IN……….
    Three of which are INFP, always questing. Want to know more………..
    As did I, being an INFP. An intelligent friend once told me that music is just back round to some people. I couldn’t believe it.
    I like a lot of genres. I like to really listen. I like to know about how and why the music was made. What was going on, what prompted that form of expression at the time.
    I need to like the sound of the singer’s voice. Usually voices in the lower range. Resonance. Texture. Intonation. Harmony. Substance.
    And not too much cymbal. So much cymbal in a lot of drumming. Use as an accent, not a staple. Maybe that makes it catchier?
    I miss the LP sound. I’m glad they have been bringing it back.
    I don’t listen to electronic music. I don’t listen to what has been called relaxation music. The kind that quietly ambles along without rhythm. That agitates me. I think to relax, one needs to feel grounded? Maybe not for some?
    Opera can affect me physically. Indeed carry me away. As with some orchestral music.
    I have recently been enjoying Black Metal. I wasn’t sure why. Now I have a better idea. The open mindedness of the P. I think it is solitary listening, creating an atmosphere, the I. It is most extreme of the extreme metals, the listening of the N. Yet it is primal, which I have liked in other genres, the F. “So cold, so pure…………” Transilvanian Hunger, Darkthrone.

    • tatl33 says:

      I know a lot of INXP types who enjoy black metal! I agree with the reasons you stated for an INTP liking this type of music.
      I think that INFP’s are best at being emotionally captivated by music. It’s an amazing privilege so enjoy it🙂 that’s why some people only listen to it as background music- it often doesn’t affect them as much as it can certain people.
      What types do you think most listen to music as background music?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I prefer listening to classical, orchestral, jazz or complex electronic music and really don’t like popular music, nor songs very much in general compared to instrumental music. I’m probably an INFJ.

    • tatl33 says:

      That’s interesting to hear an INFJ who likes complex electronic music! I have heard a few people who are INFJ’s who love classical, although I don’t personally like it
      What makes you enjoy listening to these genres?

  10. Ahamed says:

    ENFP – Variety is a spice of life. If i like a song , I will listen 100 times or more. I will listen till charm is gone.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m an ISFP. My favorite music comes from bands like Billy Talent, Three Days Grace, Green Day, etc.. along those lines. I like a large variety of music ranging from pop to heavy metal, I can’t listen to music like classical that has no singing in it though..

  12. Laura says:

    Hi, I’m a board-certified music therapist, and this topic has been of great interest to me as I work with individuals with histories of trauma through their relationships with music. I think culture is something that is missing from this article. Or a discussion of how culture shapes personality and music tastes. If you’re able, I was wondering if you could please site your sources –I’d really appreciate it.
    As a side note, I’m an INFJ and I tend gravitate towards indie, 60s Brit rock, blues, straight ahead jazz, and older soul. Like the above poster, I just can’t get into metal, but I used to listen to a lot of punk when I was younger.

    Thanks for the discussion!

    • tatl33 says:

      thats awesome! no problem, i will definitely look into cultures relation to personality and music tastes. i wrote another article on culture and MBTI, but I’m yet to combine the three together, so keep an eye out for future articles. Thanks again!🙂

  13. Laura says:

    Wait! sorry, I just saw your sources. Not enough coffee this morning!
    Thanks again!

  14. callmelazy says:

    I’m INTP and my favourite music would be shoegaze/dream-pop/post-rock and anything along those lines. I also like rock, metal, symphonic metal etc., just as long as there’s no screaming involved (it just messes with my head). I’m a huge fan of guitar-based music and I am especially fond of effects pedals. I also like classical music, preferably piano-based, and gothic polyphonies.

  15. Fahmida says:

    I prefer instrumentals. Love to listen something that can make me thoughtful or feel very sad or very happy. I appreciate fusion of western & classical musics. Rock music is OK, but metal initiates bad headache.
    Would you please explain this according to MBTI types?

    • tatl33 says:

      Thank you! I’d love to.
      I’d say that you have a very diverse and unique music taste based on this short comment you’ve given me. I’d say this has a lot to do with Ne which is the most open minded and accepting types. Being an INP type means you are willing to listen to a wide range of music for a long period of time to find music that you’d like and you don’t judge music straight away. The Ti would explain why you love to listen to thoughtful and more deep music as you are the thinking type. Would you agree?🙂

      • Fahmida says:

        “you are willing to listen to a wide range of music for a long period of time to find music that you’d like”

        Exactly I do so. I usually pick a track & continue to listen for a very long time, even it can be whole day or a week. While taking break, listen to a different one I like, then used to go back to the previous one I am listening for long time. & I do not hear to the lyrics most of the time, I hear it’s melody.. love to search the unique portion that is different from all the parts & try to differentiate the notes of using instruments.
        I know, being INTP defines this habit well.
        Most of the time I listen to music. When at bed, when eating, before taking classes (I was teacher once), often my students came & didn’t find me with their world… because I was with music through headphones at a loud volume. Is it natural/normal? It makes me embarassed infront of people out of my close circles.

  16. Nine05 says:

    What do you think an article about the type most attractive to others

    • tatl33 says:

      That is a great idea Nine! I shall make that one my next article. What do you think is most attractive to others? I would argue that the ESFP females and ESTJ males are often the most attractive to others

  17. Rob Myers says:

    Hello, I am an INFJ and I’ve always enjoyed various forms of Rock/Metal including symphonic/gothic, black metal, some punk/new wave, europop and many others. I’ll listen to almost anything which has rich harmonics, emotional amplitude in the vocals (both anger and happiness) harsh solid string tones (smooth or grit) and many different effects fused and melted in the music itself. I believe the Ni, Fe, and Se may play a role in this. The more complex and powerful the music is, the better.

    Although Rock/Metal is my primary genre, I’ll also listen to Classical, New Age, Folk, Celtic, and any other which will allow me to zone out and into the music as according to whatever mood I’m currently in at that moment in time. Since I’m fed up the current state of society I tend to listen to mostly Black and symphonic/gothic metal (e.g. Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Theater of Tragedy, Birthday Massacre, Sirenia…ect.) Both the acoustics, effects, and emotion in the music stimulates me more than any other genre and I can still also relax with these genres at the same time.

    I honestly don’t think genres can be sorted my MBTI itself, but which sides of the brain and how each individual utilizes them may make the assumption of which music genre a certain individual prefers. Let’s not also forget how each individual’s Jungarian/MBTI functions are nourished (nature/nuture). Oh, one more thing….I enjoy playing piano/keyboards and guitars!🙂

    • tatl33 says:

      That’s interesting. I think that genres aside, the MBTI type in relation to music is most influential on the amount we like music, what we play, how open we are to different genres, etc. and I think the INFJ can often be very into music based on all this. Thanks for your input! I’d love if you left a comment on the movie genre article as I’ve found this very insightful

  18. Tim says:

    Hi, I’m an ENTP and I actually preferred music that sounds good (not music that is popular). However, I like instrumental music which is probably based on the assertion that ENTP are the most introverted extrovert (or is it that my Ti is developed and I’m close to an INTP). However, I think sensors are more inclined to listen to popular music than intuitives. I think the perception vs judging is correct.

  19. alpheratz96 says:

    I’m ENFP and, guess what? I listen to almost everything and I love everything I listen to😛
    I easily tend to get completely involved in the atmosphere that music creates: I FEEL it, I feel like I’m part of it. That’s the reason why music can influence my mood so easily – no matter how bad my day was, a couple of tunes by Bowling for soup are enough to make me feel on top again!
    I also listen to music while I’m studying: I know it might sound weird, but music helps me to concentrate and get motivated. If I study without music, I meet serious concentration problems and at the end I give up. That’s because my brain is totally unable to focus only on one thing at a time.

    I really enjoy any kind of music, as long as it manages to touch my soul. My fav musician is Yann Tiersen – a French artist who mixes traditional French music with electronic sounds; my fav band are The Gaslight Anthem – I love their vintage sound! I also listen to rock, punk, metal, jazz, blues, pop, disco, classical… to sum up, if you look at my playlists, it’s easy to find tunes by Avenged Sevenfold, Ray Charles, Billy Talent and Duran Duran all together😀

  20. Anonymous says:

    ENTP – Grindcore

  21. M M says:

    I am an INFJ and I like classical and jazz. I don’t like country western at all.

  22. Tymplton says:

    I’m an ISTJ and this arcticles focuses mostly on E, N, F, and P types… I call a bias!

    If you’re wondering though, I do like some traditionally structured genres like the more general alternative rock, classic rock, progressive rock, BUT my favorite artists tend to be more experimental, whether in rock, electronic or jazz.

    Especially Zappa, he’s the man.

  23. Em says:

    INTJ. Very interesting thread. Personality does play a role in music tastes. Since music is the only time I let Fi out to play, I enjoy industrial metal (Celldweller), metalcore (I the Breather, Demon Hunter, Silent Planet), hard rock (In This Moment), and industrial dance (Neuroticfish, Angelspit, Project Pitchfork, Centhron). Anything produced and sung very well, however, I can tolerate.

  24. I am an INFJ and I have come to notice that many of my friends who are Percievers are actually not as open to musical genres as I am. Most of them are XNFP’s. Two; my ENFP and ENTJ friends likes background music whilst me and my INFP friends don’t. My ENFP friend is the one who is the most open to different genres. My INFP friends feel like they need to understand the music to listen to it, either the lyrics or the pattern the music is playing. Me on the other hand likes all genres (that I’ve lostened to so far) but I stop listening to certain artists because of their actions, if they are decent humna beings etc. I do not know if this is connected to me being an INFJ or not.

  25. Kris says:

    I am an ESTJ, and I like mostly classical music and some symphonic metal, occasionally smooth jazz and J/C-pop. The Judgement part is spot-on, since I am picky about the music I like, but the rest is awfully off. As E, I actually find happy music too uplifting and prefer minor key pieces. Hip-hop, rap, and electronic music are huge turn-offs for me. The more popular the music is, the more likely I dislike it. I prefer complex music at all times. And I do get emotional with my music too.

    I sound more like an INFP but my test result is consistently ESTJ. I suppose MBTI is too general to conclude anyone’s music preferences.

  26. Aerith says:

    I am ENTP and I love metal music, mostly death metal.

  27. Nyan says:

    INFJ with huge bias towards progressive rock/metal. Have been into neo-prog lately which some prog fans consider boring, but for me the melodies that flow into each other endlessly and the expansive atmosphere is very attractive, maybe because it has next to zero sensation vibe to it lol. Love other genres of metal too, preferring complex compositions with an interesting concept (Avant-garde black/ Technical death appealing for the same reason). Also, folk, esp. Celtic and Scandinavian, and just starting to get into classical, mostly the Romantic era.
    I either go all Feeling when listening to music, or find a little INTJ inside me enjoying all the musical complexity almost logically.
    I have noticed that while I am bent on listening to whole albums, and repeatedly, my INFP friend with similar tastes can listen to an album on Youtube just once and move on to the next thing, no matter how much they liked it, without re-listening or looking for other albums of the same artist. To me it looks like lack of deep appreciation for music, but could there be another explanation? Any INFP willing to speak up?🙂

  28. nms says:

    I’m an ISTP and I really dislike most structured/mainstream music. I find it very boring and unoriginal and pointless. I’m into a broad range of music but mostly any kind of noise, but also some post rock, jazz, metal, grindcore, noise rock, and any avant-garde/experimental kinds of music. Some of my favorite artists are Merzbow, Raven, KK Null, Boredoms, OOIOO, Melt-Banana, God Is My Co-Pilot, stilluppsteypa, irr. app. (ext.), Discordance Axis, Phobia, The Locust, Jesus Chrust, Hinyouki, Some asian females bodybuilders, Playing with nuns, To-Bo, Kaelteeinbruch, Koobaatoo Asparagus, Harmonious Tones Of Shattered Bones, The Implicit Order, Sandy Anus And The Donut Blasters, Bull of Heaven, NxFxTxEx, Fækal Omsorg, Gravhund, Hillbilly Noise Pussy, Lolita Vibrator Torture, Prurient, Torturing Nurse, Filthy Turd, Killer Bug, Dromez, PainKiller, Zu, Pelican, Mogwai, Second Nature, Taiga, Sunn O))), Yona-Kit, Masonna, Space Machine, Bustmonsters, Burzum, Mayhem, Zebra Mu, Justice Yeldham, Noise Ramones, MC Hellshit & DJ Carhouse, Today Is The Day, Weird Little Boy, Maaaa, Mania, and Hanatarash to name a few. Could this be explained based on my MBTI?

  29. Morgan says:

    I’m an ISTJ and the only one that matched was F versus T. I was almost conpletely opposite on everything else.

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