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Running head: EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
Extroversion and the Relationship with Beats Per Minute
Anna Warner
Arizona State University
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EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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Abstract
A survey about music preferences and personality traits was conducted at Arizona State
University. The participants were 83 undergrad students. Our goal was to find a relationship
between extraversion and the beats per minute of a person’s favorite song. After participants had
filled in a survey which had a ten-item personality inventory scale, a Pearson r test was run to
find out if there was a relationship between the two variables. Researchers did not find a
correlation between the two variables. Therefore, we can conclude that there is no relationship
between extroversion and the beats per minute in a person’s favorite song. People don’t
necessary have a favorite song with a high rate of beats per minute when they are extroverted, or
low beats per minute when they are introverted. This outcome is not consistent with the outcome
of previous studies. For future studies, we could have people include more songs to get an
average number of beats per minute, and people of different age groups should be included
within the study.
Keywords: Personality traits, extroversion, preference beat per minute (BPM),
music
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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Extraversion and the Relationship with Beats Per Minute
Music is a universal language. It’s a social phenomenon and the focus of many social
activities (Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003). People from all over the world and different cultures
gather to listen to music. For example, these days there are concerts and gatherings everywhere
where DJ’s play house music. House music is a type of electronic music created with computers
and synthesizers. Various styles of music also have a different rate of beats per minute. For
example, most of the time house music has a high rate of beats per minute, whereas hip hop has a
much lower rate.
Beats per minute, or BPM, is the measure of the number beats per minute in a song and is
a part of the composition. To shape the music to perfection, a musician alters the beats by raising
or lowering the tempo of the beats in the arrangement. A study done by Karageorghis, Jones, and
Low (2006), found that beats determine the response between physical stimuli and mental
phenomena. These reactions can explain why certain people like distinctive music styles. For
instance, some people have a favorite song with a high rate of beats per minute. These people
might be more outgoing and extroverted than other’s who prefer songs with a lower number of
beats per minute.
Reaching a balanced state of emotional well-being is important to most individuals
throughout the course of their lives (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005). One of the
reasons that people listen to music is that it can have a positive effect on their mood (Valentine &
Evans, 2001). When people are sad, they might listen to different songs with a different rate of
beats per minute than when they are happy. Usually, individuals who are happy and wellbalanced are more outgoing and extroverted than a person that is depressed and inward-looking,
which can be reflected within their music taste.
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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One question that remains is if the preference for the BPM in a person's favorite song is
linked to personality. According to Glen (2011), for a long time personal characteristics were
thought to be the possible cause of certain behaviors or emotions. Human characteristics are
divided up into five personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion,
neuroticism, and openness. Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann (2003) stated that most people know
whether they are introverted or extroverted. However, if one wants to gain a better understanding
of a person, it’s easier to ask whether they like to go out, talk a lot, are enthusiastic, or sociable.
Dollinger (1993), researched the correlation between music preference and extroversion.
In his study, he found that individuals who like excitement prefer rock music; while extroverted
people prefer jazz, new age, and gospel music. Taking the previous studies into consideration, I
hypothesize that there will be a positive relationship between extroversion of a person and the
preference of beats per minute in their favorite song.
Method
Design
This study is a correlational design study measuring the relationships between the
variables, extroversion and beats per minute in a person’s favorite song. We measured the
participants on the different variables to test for correlation between them.
Participants
The sample included 83 Arizona State University students who did this study in exchange
for partial course credit. The participants ranged in age between 18 and 42 (Mage = 21.0, SD =
3.5). One participant did not complete all measures in the survey. Of the participants who
completed all measures, 27 (32.9%) were male and 55 (67.1%) were female. This study had 43
participants (52.4%) of European, 16 participants (19.5%) of Latin-American, 6 participants
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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(7.3%) of East-Asian, 5 participants (6.1%) of Asian-American, 3 participants (3.7%) of African,
2 participants (2.4%) of Middle-Eastern, 2 participants (2.4%) of Native American, 2 participants
(2.4%) of multiple and 3 participants (3.7%) of another descent. Our sample was also divided
into socioeconomic status, 41 participants (50%) of middle class, 28 participants (34.1%) of
upper middle class, 11 participants (13.4%) of lower middle class, 1 participant (1.2%) of lower
working class, and 1 participant (1.2%) of upper class. Lastly, the sample was divided into levels
of education; 64 participants (78%) had some college, 10 participants (12.2%) had a college
degree, 7 participants (8.5%) had a high school diploma, and 1 participant (1.2%) had an
advantaged degree.
Materials and Procedures
Students entered the classroom and all took a seat behind a computer. Everyone had to
log into their Blackboard which is an online platform for ASU students, and after a brief
introduction the participants had to take a survey which they could find in their course materials.
Ten item personality inventory scale (TIPI), This is a validated and established
measure about personality (Gosling et al., 2003). The survey contained ten questions about
personality traits and they were measured on a 5-point Likert scale from 1(this does not describe
me) to 5 (describes me extremely well). We are using the extraversion measure. The Cronbach’s
alpha for this measure 0.68.
The second part of the survey included fourteen questions about types of music rated on a
7-point Likert scale from 1(strongly dislike) to 4 (neither like nor dislike) to 7 (strongly
like). This was followed with a question about the favorite song of the participant and the beats
per minute. The participants had to go to the following website http://songbmp.com to find the
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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beats related to this song, after this was known it was filled into the questionnaire. The last part
of the survey included nine demographic questions.
Results
It was hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship, such that the more
extroverted a person is, the more beats per minute they would like in their favorite song. A
Pearson’s r product moment correlation was computed to analyze the relationship of extroversion
and the preference of beats per minute in the participant’s favorite song. Results showed that
there was not a significant relationship between the extroversion of a person and the preference
for beats per minute, r (82) = .032, p = .775. Figure 1 shows, that there is no apparent
relationship between the two variables because the data is evenly distributed. People who have a
high score on extraversion are just as likely to occur as high scores on the rate of the BPM in
their favorite song as they are with a low score on the rate of BPM.
Discussion
The question was if there is a relationship between extroversion of a person and the
preference of beats per minute in their favorite song. It was hypothesized that there was a
correlation between the two variables and that individuals who have a high rate of BPM in their
favorite song are more extroverted than people who have a low level of BMP in their favorite
song. To find out if there was a relationship between the two variables, we used a correlation
test. Participants had to fill in a survey which used a TIPI scale. After the data had been
collected, a Pearson’s r test was administered. The results were that there was no correlation
found between the two variables to support that claim.
In contrast, Rentfrow and Gosling (2003), did find that people who like energetic, upbeat
music, are more lively and talkative; these traits relate to extraversion. One of the reasons why
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
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their outcome is unlike ours might be that the music was broken into distinctive categories
accordingly to style, and themes, and not by beats per minute. Dollinger (1993), did find a
correlation between extroversion and jazz, gospel, and new age music. Just like the previous
study, the researcher looked at types of music and not the beats per minute in a person’s favorite
song. Within these genres, there are songs with many variations of beats per minute. However,
not the beats per minute, but the type of music was measured.
The limitations of this study are that most people who filled in the survey were ranging in
age between 18 and 23. However, seven people ranged from the age of 24 and 42. Mostly, the
participants are very young, and they typically don’t listen to jazz, but are more likely to
listening to modern music, which has other corresponding beats per minute. To solve this
problem, we could use the stratified random sampling technique. We could divide the population
into the following strata that range in age; age range from 15 to 35, 36 to 55, and 56 to 76. Of
these groups, a random sample could be taken to reflect the population. These participants would
complete the survey, and these results would need to be analyzed and compared to the recent
study. Another limitation is that participants could only pick one song and use the BPM of this
song. To resolve this problem, researchers could have a person choose more than one song and
calculate the average of the BPM of these songs.
In a future study, researchers could use a purpose sampling technique. When one uses
this way of sampling, they only question people with a musical preference for one style. For
example, there are many variations within house music, and every genre has an average number
of beats per minute. These genres could be divided up according to beats per minute. A research
question could be if there are differences in extroversion of people and the kind of house music
they prefer to hear.
EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
Overall, previous studies investigated the types of music and personality traits, and there
were some correlations found. However, in our study, there was no correlation between
extroversion of a person and the preference of beats per minute. Individuals who scored higher
on extraversion did not necessarily have a favorite song with a high rate of BPM.
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EXTRAVERSION AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BPM
References
Dollinger, S. J. (1993). Personality and Music Preference: Extraversion and Excitement seeking
or Openness to Experience. Psychology of Music, 21(1), 73-77.
Glen, T., Matthews, G., Deary, I., & Whiteman, M. (2011). Not Just for Trait Theorists: A
Timely Review Personality Traits. Journal of the International Neuropsychological
Society, 17(04), 756-758. doi:10.1017/s1355617711000786
doi:10.1017/s1355617711000786
Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B. (2003). A Very Brief Measure of the Big-Five
Personality Domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(6), 504-528.
doi:10.1016/s0092-6566(03)00046-1
Karageorghis, C. I., Jones, L., & Low, D. C. (2006). Relationship Between Exercise Heart Rate
and Music Tempo Preference. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 77(2), 240250. doi:10.1080/02701367.2006.10599357
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture
of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111–131.
Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2003). The do re mi's of everyday life: The structure and
personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 84(6), 1236-1256. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.6.1236
Valentine, E., & Evans, C. (2001). The effects of solo singing, choral singing and swimming on
mood and physiological indices. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 74, 115–120.
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BPM favorite song
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Figure 1. Scatter plot of the correlation between extraversion and beats per minute.
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