The “Persona Vibes” Effect

Louis Barnes
4 min readJul 7, 2023
the persona vibes incident of 20XX

I’ve thought about the above image a lot recently. Kyle PurpleLastName is commenting on a YouTube video featuring some form of jazz and they say that it’s giving them “persona vibes.” The anonymous blue user passive-aggressively retorts Kyle’s comment, correctly identifying the genre of music as jazz. For those readers who aren’t familiar with the Persona series, all you need to know is that Persona is a Japanese video game series that features a soundtrack that sometimes is a little bit jazzy.

Given how *crusty* this image is, you can tell that it has circled the internet quite a few times. I searched online for a bit to see if anyone found the source of this image, but I was unsuccessful. This exchange could be fake or staged, as are many things on the internet. It is a pretty funny image; I won’t deny that and I could see how it could be faked. However, I don’t want to talk about the truth of this image or its origin story. I instead want to generalize this exchange and put a concept to similar occurrences on the internet.

If you had to boil this interaction down to its bare essentials, one user has rediscovered a part of a culture and incorrectly associated it with something else, something newer and more available to them. You could call it the “availability heuristic” or “recency bias”, but I think that this phenomenon is a bit more specific than these two concepts. For the sake of this article, I would like to call this phenomenon the Persona Vibes (PV) effect.

a persona vibes band, courtesy of Cuyahoga Falls Instrumental Music Program

Kyle’s exchange with the anonymous blue user is a not uncommon occurrence on the internet. Adolescents (which I am assuming Kyle was at the time of this post) are growing up in the world without a full knowledge of the inspirations and histories of the things that they enjoy. They might think that the things that they like came up with the concepts that they are known for and will incorrectly attribute them to said thing. In this case, Kyle thought that the Persona game series came up with the genre of jazz. So, whenever that Kyle heard jazz out in the wild, they immediately thought of Persona.

I am a victim of the PV effect and I’m sure you are, too. I want to give an example from my personal experience. When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of Minecraft. Minecraft, to this day, is probably still the game that I’ve dedicated the most hours to. Anyways, there’s a specific block in the game called obsidian. In Minecraft gameplay, if you arrange obsidian blocks in a 2 by 3 box and light the center of it on fire with flint and steel, you can create what’s called a “Nether Portal.” Now, there’s nothing in our observable universe that we know of that’s called the Nether, so I had assumed that obsidian was also fake. Now imagine my shock in my 6th grade science class when we were discussing volcanic rocks and the picture of obsidian popped up in my out-of-date textbook. My world was absolutely shaken that day.

So, what can we as a society do to prevent or mitigate the PV effect from affecting our impressionable youth? I’m gonna be straight with you, there’s no viable way to prevent it. I would argue that the PV effect is a normal part of growing up and socializing with other individuals. It is very important, however, to be respectful of those suffering from the PV effect. I know that the internet is full of idiots out there but put yourself in the shoes of Kyle. Kyle didn’t know of the existence of jazz, and he made a comment that they thought was truth. We have all had our PV moments in our past, so let’s treat the upcoming generation with a little bit of patience and show them the truth. I’d like to imagine that Kyle today is a huge jazz fan, thanks to the comment from the anonymous blue user.

all of the “Persona” main characters, courtesy of Gameinformer.

Thanks for reading!