Acquiring Traits Through Media

So, between taking a class on Chaucer and watching a lot of Futurama, recently, I have developed a problematic habit of, in normal conversation, replacing “ask” with “axe,” which I just noticed when I did it while typing in another thread. Similarly, during the Bjork binge that inspired my avatar several years ago, I began to pronounce everything like I was raised amongst transcendent faire folk. I have noticed, also, an admittedly anecdotal correlation between the amount of South Park people watch and how often they say “Fuckin’ sweet, dude.”

Has anyone else been a victim to this phenomenon?

I do the “axe” thing all the time. My dad and I have running gag where he “axes” me a question and I “splain” the answer.

There may be a correlation wit the South Park thing as I’ve never really watched the show and I never really say that phrase. I really don’t swear much really, unless I’m really pissed or for explaining something really extreme.

I found out that I learned kung fu after having a cable plugged into the back of my brain and having kung fu moves downloaded into it.

On that note I find myself cooking in a southern accent, misinterpreting everything as evidence of ghosts, talking like somebody off the Home Shopping Network, and finding Adult Swim level poop jokes semi-tolerable more often than I would care to admit.

I like turtles.

I think the music you listen to can affect not just your specific word choices, as you describe, but also your whole personality. Music is designed to make you feel different, and when you feel different, you act differently. You gradually start to express yourself in ways that have the same emotional effect as the music you listen to. If you had someone listen constantly to Led Zeppelin, Nobuo Uematsu, and Justin Bieber for one month each, I think he would behave differently at the end of each month. And I think that behavior would match up subtly with the emotional impact of the music.

People who disagree with me have argued that I got the causation backward. Maybe the music someone listens to can predict his personality, they argue, but that is just because certain personalities choose certain types of music. For example, if you pick out a stereotypical sorority girl at a liberal university, I imagine there’s a near-100% chance she likes Lady Gaga. If you forced her to listen to Radiohead for a month, some argue, she would still be the same person afterward.

There is some truth to that, but I am still convinced that in the right circumstances, music can subtly reshape how you act.

Maybe as a really minor example, but I know there are certain genres of music which make me want to drive faster and others which I know to put on when speeding would be an incredibly bad idea.

While music is fairly powerful when it comes to one’s emotions, I highly doubt listening to music can alter your personality, at least in a drastic way. I’m going to lean towards the presented opposing side. Certain people do like certain types of music, just like how certain musicians make certain types of music. Listening to and playing some styles (not genres, but more specific than that) of music feels wrong to me, or rather I don’t get anything out of it. If you made me listen to Justin Bieber for a month straight I wouldn’t be a different person… I would just be angrier. Forcing a “stereotypical sorority girl” to listen to Radiohead for a month would probably make her pretty upset as well.

When I was still learning English I learned a lot of my vocabulary from Beavis & Butt-Head. I’m really ashamed of what I may have sounded like when I was 15.


I say “Apart from anything else …” (as in, meaning “For one thing …”) all the time, entirely as a result of reading the Discworld books.

If music can change your accent, in can change your personality in a world of deeply offensive stereotypes. Other than that, though, I’m pretty sure I’m on Gila’s side.

What will happen to me if i listen to nothing but dubstep for one month? I will find out next month.

You’ll get laid.

I kind of figured. Some people immediately agree with me that music can temporarily affect personality, as though it is the most obvious thing in the world, and others act like I am crazy.

Years ago, you and Sil had an argument about who was a better poet, Yeats or Whitman. I have a feeling Yeats-types will sympathize with the idea, and Whitman-types will think it is just silly psychologizing, an indulgent, introspective delusion.

I’ve noticed the same thing. Same with working out to music. Even the skeptics usually admit music can pump people up. Songs like Eye of the Tiger and Final Countdown are not good for much else.

I have a feeling Yeats-types will sympathize with the idea, and Whitman-types will think it is just silly psychologizing, an indulgent, introspective delusion.

Why else are we here? :ah-ha!:

While I would be inclined to disagree with the point that music can alter your personality to suit it, I do think being exposed to something alters you in some way anyway. I definitely think that the example of speeding up to certain genres isn’t an example of personality change but rather our instinct for rhythm and our desire to keep things in sync (see, for example, the way shops have their tiling done in such a way that if you’re using a trolley you’re more likely to slow down at certain areas to keep the rhythm of clicks the same, or the music they play). However, being exposed to it causes us to form an opinion on it and thus influences how we act around others who have opinions on the matter. So from that point of view we are changed.

I feel like there’s a big gap between mood and personality, so it might just be a semantic disagreement. For example, I’m not going to challenge the idea that music “pumps you up” or whatever, but I don’t know if I’d call that even a temporary change in personality. As an example of “personality” changes, I don’t think listening to more grindcore is going to make me more abrasive/aggressive or whatever, I don’t think that listening to more sissy indie folk is going to make me particularly sentimental and meek for whatever period of time, and so on.

I think this is an issue of word choice. You’re describing something with the word personality that I would describe with mood. Getting pumped up has nothing to do with your personality. Listening to music with high BPMs or strong beats raises your heart rate and excites you, yes, especially if you enjoy the type of music. But this has very little to do with one’s personality. Again, listening to Justin Bieber pop songs isn’t going to make me want to do whatever the music is talking about. And listening to death metal isn’t going to make me want to kill people (not that most death metal is about that but to you it probably is). I will agree with one detail of your claim, however, in that it can make a subtle difference. But I would imagine this is temporary and is more tied to how one is currently feeling rather than how they identify with the world.

Pretty much. Personality is much more embedded within the psyche to be that susceptible to the atmosphere of the music. Mood on the other hand, how one is currently feeling, I can certainly see being tied to music, as it has everything to do with your surroundings. Obviously if I’m feeling down, listening to a piece of music I really enjoy will make me feel better.

oh god I can’t wait!!! THIS IS GONNA BE SWEET GUSY!!!