A leading psychologist has claimed adults who listened to reggae and classical music as children are more likely to be open to trying new things as they grow up.
To research the extent to which music affects behaviour later on in life, O2 conducted a study looking at the habits of 2,000 participants as part of their Live Experiences campaign, which encourages consumers to ‘Breathe It All In’ by seizing the moment to watch their favourite music, artist or band.
Music psychologist Catherine Loveday, from Westminster University in London, studied the results and suggested adults who are exposed to a wide array of music during their formative years end up with a greater desire to broaden their social and culinary boundaries; trying new foods, sports, fashions and books.
Although a fair few of us would have opted for heavy metal or soul music over Classic FM in our teenage years, it turns out the former are least likely to contribute to a willingness to participate in anything new.
The research found more than a quarter of those whose parents regularly listened to reggae were open to trying new things, compared to one fifth of those who were exposed to classical music.
In contrast, just four per cent of adults who listened to heavy metal and soul at a young age said they are now open to being adventurous and experimental.
Prof. Loveday said:
Music is a very fundamental way for parents to connect with their children so it is not surprising that musical tastes get passed on.
But it is interesting to think that listening habits might also nurture open-mindedness and flexibility, as well as a yearning for live music.
We have known for a while that exposing young children to lots of new foods will help them to develop a more adventurous palate and it looks like the same thing might be true of music.
As well as the genre of music having an effect, the study found the age at which people experience their first live gig also has a big impact on their attitudes to new activities.
33 per cent of children who went to their first gig aged between four and six years old are more open to trying new things now, as opposed to just nine per cent of those who attended a musical festival or concert over the age of 22.
81 per cent of those who went to a gig before the age of seven are also more likely to want to attend regular gigs as they get older. Conversely only a third of those who waited until they were over 22 are keen to regularly attend live music events.
The research also revealed that continuing to listen to a wide range of music as we get older has increasingly less of an impact on our characteristics.
After the age of 35, interest in hearing new music genres is on the decline, while people are most receptive to different genres and sounds between the ages of 24-35, with nearly half of participants in that age group saying they are now very happy to listen to the same music as their parents, after which they become less inclined to listen to new music.
The range of music listened to when younger also has an impact on the music you’re most likely to listen to in later life, with those who listened to a diverse range of music growing up most likely to listen to hip hop, drum and bass and reggae.
Nina Bibby, from O2, said:
Music connects us on an emotional level so it’s perhaps no surprise to see that the music we listen to growing up shapes our approach and attitude to other aspects of our life.
There’s nothing quite like live music to make you feel alive and we want to encourage people to seize the moment and breathe it all in.
Through Priority Tickets O2 customers have access to over 5,000 live shows in more than 350 venues across the UK, so there’s no better time to explore exciting new live experiences!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.