A new study from the University of Cambridge has discovered that different musical tastes are linked to the way people think. Specifically, being strong in either empathy or systems predicts the kind of music you like.
The study was conducted on 4,000 people. They were given tests to determine whether they were systemizers (people driven by the interest of rules and patterns in the world), empathizers (people who are good at recognizing and feeling the emotions and thoughts of others), or a mix of the two.
– Empathetic people prefer mellow music (AC genres, soft rock, R&B), “unpretentious” music (folk, country, singer-songwriter), contemporary music (latin, acid jazz, euro pop, electronic). They don’t like intense music like punk and heavy metal, but like music with reflective/gentle/low energy, that are emotionally deep, and/or sad songs.
– Systemizers prefer intense music and don’t like mellow, unpretentious music. They like music that’s strong and high energy, and is positive. They also like music that is more “complex and cerebral”.
– Not only this, but if an empathizer and systemizer both like jazz, the empathizer will prefer mellower and upretentious jazz, and the systemizer will prefer more avant-garde and complex jazz.
Songs that are high on empathy:
Vance Joy – Mess is Mine
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Nora Jones – Come Away With Me
Billie Holliday – All of Me
Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Songs that are high on systemizing:
Death From Above 1979 – Trainwreck 1979
Metallica – Enter Sandman
The Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
Antonio Vivaldi – Concerto in C
Alexander Scriabin – Etude , Op. 65, No. 3