The role of moral reasoning & personality in explaining lyrical preferences

Kyle J. Messick, Blanca E. Aranda

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research has supported that personality traits can act to a precursor to media preferences. Due to the ongoing association between morality and media preferences in public and political discourse (e.g., blaming immoral behaviours on media preferences), this research sought to expand the knowledge about factors that contribute to media preferences by investigating if moral reasoning styles explain some of the variance that was not already explained by personality traits. A specific form of media preferences were chosen - lyrical preferences in metal music - as claims between metal lyrical themes and behaviour have been ongoing since the 1980s, despite a lack of empirical evidence to support these claims. A lyrical preferences scale was developed, and utilizing this scale, it was found that different types of metal fans exhibit different moral reasoning styles dependent on their metal sub-genre identification. Further, it was found that moral reasoning styles explain a portion of the variance in lyrical preferences that weren't already explained by personality traits. In particular, lyrical preferences were often thematically consistent with moral reasoning content and personality traits, such as that individuals that preferred lyrics about celebrating metal culture and unity had higher levels of the group loyalty moral reasoning domain alongside being higher in extraversion. The implications of moral reasoning styles and personality traits as being precursors to media preferences are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0228057
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright: © 2020 Messick, Aranda. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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