The study focussed on how our musical choices affect our empathy levels and analytical skills – splitting people into empathisers or sympathisers.
Senior study author Dr Jason Rentfrow said, “ This line of research highlights how music is a mirror of the self. Music is an expression of who we are emotionally, socially and cognitively.”
The research involved 4,000 participants who were recruited via Facebook, and multiple studies. After undertaking several psychology-based questionnaires, they were given 50 musical pieces to listen to and rate.
In order to avoid the participants having prior cultural or personal associations, over 26 genres and sub-genres were used in the study from library musical stimuli.
Participants who were found to have a bias towards empathising, preferred music on the Mellow dimension (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres) and had more gentle, warm, and sensual attributes. They tend to have a negative valence (depressing and sad), and emotional depth (poetic, relaxing, and thoughtful)
In comparison, systematisers who preferred music on the more Intense dimension (punk, heavy metal, and hard rock) and had aspects of positive valence (animated) and cerebral depth (complexity).
Do you feel these results reflect your personality?