• Article

Riesman's character typology and musical preferences

Using survey data, we offer a specific test of the general claim that character type—specifically, inner- versus other-direction—is a significant factor in the social influence process. Riesman (1950, 1954) defined character not in terms of idiosyncratic psychological processes, but rather as a robust outcome of socialization. We placed respondents on an inner- versus other-direction continuum using a previously developed 36-item scale (the I-O scale). In addition, we asked respondents to provide information bearing on several indicators of social influence in terms of popular musical culture. The results indicate that I-O significantly predicts musical preference controlling for a variety of demographic characteristics.


Melamed, D., & Sage, A. (2008). Riesman's character typology and musical preferences. Sociological Spectrum, 28(6), 725-740. https://doi.org/10.1080/02732170802342982

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