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Think you can't sing? You could be wrong

So sing it loud.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

PEOPLE COULD HAVE musical ability in their genes but not know it, a new study says.

The study by researchers at the University of Cambridge published in the most recent Journal of Research in Personality shows that personality may have more to do with musical ability than practice.

A team of psychologists identified that the personality trait ‘Openness’ predicts musical ability and sophistication.

People who score highly on openness are imaginative, have a wide range of interests, and are open to new ways of thinking and changes in their environment.

The research shows that the idea that practice makes perfect may not be the only important thing in creating musical genius.

The research team recruited 7,000 volunteers,  in what is the largest study to date on personality and musical expertise.

The team led by doctoral researcher David Greenberg, tested the participants on various musical abilities including melodic memory and rhythm perception. Performance on these tests was then linked to their scores on the “big five” personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN).

They found that aside from musical experience, the next best predictor of musical ability was personality, and specifically, openness.

Those who want to find out how they score on their musical ability, preferences, and personality can take these tests.

Greenberg says the results could prove important.

“These results are particularly important for teachers and educators, who can use information about their student’s personality to see who might be most successful in varied musical activities.”

He adds: “One day science may be able to identify the personality, cognitive, and neurobiological factors that lead to musical genius.”

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