A Comparison of Reported Musical Taste and Music Listening Behavior

This project focuses on the connection between verbally expressed musical taste and the actual music listening behavior of people. A central question here is the extent to which listening behavior can be predicted on the basis of reported musical taste. That verbally expressed musical taste is subject to many different influencing factors has been frequently demonstrated. We thus know that reported musical taste is dependent on whom is being reported to—on whether or not an interviewed subject wishes to behave in conformity with his or her interlocutor. Another factor influencing the connection between reported musical taste and actual listening behavior is the function music fulfills for a listener in a certain situation, for example, satisfaction of intellectual curiosity or mood enhancement. It can thus be expected, for example, that music perceived as challenging and complex and that will thus possibly satisfy the listener’s intellectual curiosity will be less frequently consumed than what is perceived and used as “background music”, since greater cognitive resources are in demand. Furthermore, we explore the extent to which in everyday life people tend to actually listen to their favorite music or rather consciously choose music having only limited significance for them.

Our project will examine the connection between musical taste and listening behavior in the framework of several studies, for example those of an online nature. In addition, we will use the Experience Sampling Method to gauge everyday situative factors (for instance mood and activity) affecting participants, and relate these to perceived characteristics of the selected music (for instance like or dislike, familiarity, complexity).