Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


First Advisor

Catherine Berheide

Second Advisor

Andrew Lindner


Why do some people claim to “listen to all music” while others prefer one genre? Existing research on musical tastes suggests there is a lot more than mere taste that influences an individual’s opinions of particular musical genres (Benzecry and Collins 2014; Peterson and Simkus 1992; Vuolo, Uggen, and Lageson 2014). To investigate this, I look to the theory of cultural omnivorousness (Peterson and Simkus 1992), which suggests that high status individuals may no longer prefer a select few musical genres, but conversely a broad and eclectic arrangement of genres. Using data on musical preferences likes from the 1993 General Social Survey of 828 respondents, I link literatures on cultural omnivorousness (Peterson and Simkus 1992), cultural capital (Bourdieu 1984), musical taste, and prestige by proposing that the patterns of an individual’s musical preference can be predicted through their educational attainment and income. Controlling for the age of the respondent, the multivariate regression analyses find educational attainment to be the only significant predictor of musical preferences, with neither income nor age having relationships with musical preferences. I suggest, therefore, that the theory of cultural omnivorousness is upheld, as respondents with higher levels of educational attainment liked more musical genres.