How do our parents influence our taste in music?

My greatest limitation, in my opinion, is my love for country music. When trying to find a roommate here at Emory, post after post on the Emory Facebook page would say something to the effect of “country music makes my ears bleed.” Born in Texas, but by no means a southerner, I was curious as to why I seemed to be the only adolescent who truly enjoyed country music. After reading the Verge article, I wondered if something other than age drives our music preferences. “Intergenerational Continuity of Taste: Parental and Adolescent Music Preferences” by Tom F.M. ter Bogt sought to explore if our parents’ music tastes when they were adolescents influenced their own children’s music taste. This correlational study did find significant results that suggested parental music preference did influence their children’s music preference, however, causation cannot be inferred from this study. If your parents preferred pop music, it is likely, according to this study, that you prefer pop and dance music. If your parents preferred rock music, it is likely that you would also like rock music, but only if you are female. These subtle nuances demonstrate the malleability of adolescent brains and how upbringing, and other social factors such as education effects even the most mundane things like our music preference.

Ter Bogt, T., Delsing, M., Van Zalk, M., Christenson, P., & Meeus, W. (2011). Intergenerational Continuity of Taste: Parental and Adolescent Music Preferences. Social Forces, 90(1), 297-319. Retrieved from

One Reply to “How do our parents influence our taste in music?”

  1. Hi Grace,
    I really liked how you found a way to address your question with social science evidence. You also were very clear about the limitations of the study. I wonder if you have new questions based on the data you discussed here. Maybe you are the only Texan in the freshman class and the location of your upbringing was highly influential in your musical preference….

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