Music Tastes Are ‘Cultural In Origin’

Headphones On Laptop

If people constantly question your taste in music, blame your parents. New research from MIT and Brandeis University has just revealed that musical preferences are actually cultural in origin rather than somehow hardwired into the brain.

The study looked into over 100 people who belonged to a remote Amazonian tribe (with therefore little to no exposure to Western music) and found that dissonant chords like C and F# together were considered to be just as likeable as consonant chords that have simple integer ratios between the acoustical frequencies of these two notes.

For hundreds of years, some scientists have believed that our brains are wired to respond well to consonant chords. While others have suggested that our musical preferences are determined in a more cultural way through exposure to music that features consonant chords.

Commenting on the results, professor of psychology at Cambridge University Brian Moore said: “Overall, the results of this exciting and well-designed study clearly suggest that the preference for certain musical intervals of those familiar with Western music depends on exposure to that music and not on an innate preference for certain frequency ratios.”

So there you have it! If you prefer Mozart to Metallica it’s probably because your parents chose to play that over your crib instead of hard rock. So if you want your kids to have the same tastes in music as you, it seems like it’s best to start them young, dress them in urban streetwear and play Drake wherever you all go.

What’s your take on this story? Where do you think your musical tastes come from? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.