If you like classical music, then you’re likely to be open to new experiences, lower in empathy, and enjoy inspiring, intelligent, complex, and dynamic states.
So says a peer-reviewed study on the relationship between musical preferences and cognitive styles.
The study noted that people judge music, and those judgments are closely related to the Big Five personality traits.
“…Little is known about what determines our taste in music. We address this gap in the literature by examining the cognitive and affective underpinnings of musical preferences,” the study states.
They classified genres into five primary dimensions:
- M — Mellow (soft rock, R&B, and adult contemporary genres)
- U — Unpretentious (country, folk, and singer/songwriter genres)
- S — Sophisticated (classical, operatic, avant-garde, world beat, and traditional jazz genres)
- I — Intense (classic rock, punk, heavy metal, and power pop genres)
- C — Contemporary (rap, electronica, Latin, acid jazz, and Euro-pop genres)
The study used Empathizing-Systemizing (E-S) theory to show people tend to choose music genres that reinforce their personal characteristics. Type E (Empathy) referred to those with the ability to identify, predict, and respond appropriately to others’ mental states. Type S (Systemizing), where those that recognize, calculate, and respond to systems’ behaviour by analyzing it.
For example, E types (those high in empathy) preferred music on the mellow dimension (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, and soft rock genres). Type S (inclination toward systemizing) preferred music on the Intense dimension (punk, heavy metal, and hard rock).
Individuals with open personalities gravitated towards blues, jazz, classical, and folk music, while those who are extroverted and agreeable favour pop, soundtrack, religious, soul, funk, electronica, and dance music.
Type E personalities (bias towards empathizing), preferred gentle, warm, and sensual attributes in music. They also enjoyed the emotional depth of dark and sad music. Type S groups valued “strong, tense, and thrilling” music that seemed to balance their “cerebral” personalities.
What does your taste in music say about you?
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