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You are only as sexy as the music you play

Research by by Qinghua Yang andCong Li at the University of Miami’s School of Communications sought to determine whether music made men and women more or less attractive to one another.

They polled 122 undergraduates, 62 percent of whom were female, asking them to rate the sexual attractiveness of four individuals according to their (fake) websites. Result? Men found women sexier if their site played classical music. Women liked men to play heavy metal.

It’s so hard to figure out women…




Here’s the abstract:

Computer-mediated communication environments such as personal websites enable users to use multimedia to construct their self-identities. How these multimedia elements in the cyberspace such as audios influence interpersonal impressions is somewhat unclear in the literature. Based on Brunswik’s lens model, this research aims to examine the impact of audio information on impression formation by testing: (a) how the background music of a personal website affects perceived attractiveness of the website owner and how gender moderates this effect, and (b) whether such an effect is mediated by perceived personality. A 2 × 2 full factorial experiment was conducted where participants (N = 122) were randomly assigned to view a cross-gender personal website with either classical or heavy metal background music. The experimental findings suggested a significant mediated moderation effect: gender moderated the relationship between music type and perceived attractiveness of the website owner such that male participants perceived the female website owner with classical background music as more attractive while female participants considered the male website owner with heavy metal background music to be more attractive, and this moderation was mediated by the website owner’s perceived agreeableness.

And here’s a fuller report.

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  1. They should have shown the numbers of how many people don’t like music that plays automatically when visiting a website, make you spend a minute watching stupid intros and trying to figure where the stop button is, only to click on any other link in the website and restart the music player.

  2. James Brinton says:

    An exercise in foolishness.

  3. Gabor Fuchs says:

    It might explain the allure of female Russian concert pianists!

  4. Theodore McGuiver says:

    I remember a government-funded study which concluded that men found women’s breasts sexually stimulating. This research seems to be in the same mould.

  5. This either/or approach to human behaviour is pseudo-science. Classical v. metal creates its own conclusions before the experiment began. Men are used to seeing many women playing classical music and it fits with the social and gender norms. There are very few women playing metal music, a hyper-aggressive, hyper-male form of western music. This was a poorly designed experiment and proves nothing.

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