The sound of social class: Do music preferences signal status?

Edoardo Cian, Daniele Marini, Anne Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In three studies, we explore the subjective construal of associations between music preferences and social class. Two small-scale studies (N = 100, N = 70) and one study involving a large representative sample of the Italian population (N = 1,045) reveal that (a) people hold well-defined stereotypes on how music preferences are linked to social class, (b) that these stereotypes do not map onto actual class differences in music taste, (c) that they operate at both an implicit and explicit level, (d) that they are subject to ingroup bias among those who prefer “low-class” genres, and (e) that they are only weakly affected by streaming habits. Together, these findings shed new light on the psychological processes through which people draw inferences about social class on the basis of cultural expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-975
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022


  • class stereotypes
  • implicit association
  • music preferences
  • social class
  • streaming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Music


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