Your music taste reveals a lot about your personality. Researchers as Cambridge recently studied more than 4,000 people to get an idea of what their taste in music revealed about their thinking styles. The results were actually quite fascinating.
How our minds work.
This work built upon the idea that almost all people fall into one of three types of thinkers: Empathizers, Systemizers, and a balance between the two. It sounds incredible that humans are that easily classified, but research over the past decade has given credence to this theory. Now, scientists are trying to learn more about how these minds work.
What they found was that these three distinct personality types were typically drawn to similar styles of music. While there’s certainly some variance within the groups, in general, these similar thinkers tended to prefer the same things.
The Empathizers are people who are people who have a strong interest in other people’s feelings or emotions. They also tend to have a genuine concern for others and are typically drawn to jobs that help other people.
How it relates to music.
When it comes to music, these people usually to gravitate towards songs that are softer, more mellow, and have emotional depth. This tends to be music like soft rock, R&B, and smooth jazz. Examples of artists that these personality types might be drawn to are Norah Jones, Jeff Buckley, and James Taylor.
Systemizers tend to be a bit more analytical. They love to find patterns in the world, are very rule-oriented people, and tend to be more prone to conformity. These people grow up to become engineers, police officers, and other math, science, or order-oriented fields.
This group’s music tastes tend to gravitate more towards hard rock, heavy metal, and punk. Bands they might like include Metallica, Bard Religion, or Disturbed. They also typically prefer music that’s more avant-garde or intellectual. This would include musicians like John Cage, Alexander Scriabin, or Conlon Nancarrow.
Those with a balanced personality tend to be a mixture of the two. They may lean towards one or the other, but in general, they’re a mix of these two personality types.
Because they’re a mixture of personality types, their musical tastes are more varied, too. These people really didn’t have a dominant type of music preference, it was more of a case-by-case basis to determine exactly what sort of music the person listened to.
This type of research is important because it can give us information into how children develop their individual personalities and may offer guidance for music therapists looking to tailor a therapy based on a particular patient. Learning more about how a patient thinks can also help them process emotions and overcome trauma.
The next step in this research will be figuring out if a person’s personality draws them to a particular type of music, or if their personality is influenced by the type of music they like. This will require a much more in-depth study that follows children over many years. For now, we’ll just have to be satisfied knowing that there is a relationship between your music tastes and your style of thinking.