Everyone at some point has heard somebody’s music blaring through their headphones or the walls’ off of speakers, in the form of, “What the heck are they listening to?!” With each our own pristine taste in music, I’ve always wondered why people like the music that they listen to? Then, you physically see the person and you have an epiphany one of two ways: 1. “Oh yeah that totally makes sense.” or 2. “Wow, I would’ve never thought…”. Sadly, we do have the tendency to judge off looks, even with music. But when has taste in music have anything to do with appearance? Never. Therefore, this seems to all change when you personally know someone and their thinking style. Now this was something worth questioning, does your music taste reflect the way you think?
Music is probably one of the most important aspects of our everyday life. Constantly, seconds are taken out of our day deciding on whether or not to click the skip, repeat, or download button. However, those few decisions makeup our music taste’s masterpiece. First to “research over the past decades”, The American Psychological Association, showed “that personality, age, and values are linked to musical preferences”. There findings proved to be a. “consistent”, b. “small effect sizes”, and c. considered 3rd/confounding variables. But they failed to reassure were multiple manipulations to see casual connections among all links. No “additional psychological mechanisms”, no clear reason why. Therefore, David Greenberg happened to be worthy enough to explain why.
This new two-part study on “over 4,000 participants” reliably addressed how musical tastes relate to cognition by examining the “empathy and systemizing theory”. Study #1: Among four questionnaire samples, “preferential reactions to musical stimuli” showed volunteers’ empathy levels to reliably correlate with musical preferences.
The “largest of correlation coefficients” were between “mellow and intense music-preference dimensions”. These “patterns” even proved to be present throughout a combination of music genres recovered. The 3rd/confounding variable of “sex differences” was “revealed that these links are independent of sex”. Which settled the previous concerns argued at the American Psychological Association. All in all, this study projected empathy’s critical role such that systemizing was due for investigation.
Study #2: As an extension, “scores on both empathy and systemizing measures, observations about brain type were made.” Given the measures of the survey, “Brain type E, type B, and type S”, or different types of thinking styles, were examined for differences in “broad” music preferences. Then, those differences were examined even closer for “psychological and sonic attributes featured in music”. I see this explaining why the mellowness or intensity of music fluctuates depending on peoples’ state of mind at the moment. For example, their prediction of “systemizers would prefer music from the intense dimensions” proved to explain people that I see use music to stay on top and in control of things or tasks they need to complete. Whereas, I noticed the “empathizers would prefer music from the mellow dimension” being those who may seek music as an escape route from reality to destress or collect thoughts and emotions.
Furthermore, I extended Greenberg’s research by analyzing how it could lead to numerous other possibilities to consider. Given that other researches have “found that group music-making can increase empathy” and “prosocial behavior“, it makes sense that relation to music connects emotions when exploring composition. However, how would this theory still stay true with people who have grown up culturally elsewhere? The researches’ downfall is the minor discussion about cultural context. In addition, the likelihood of none of the types of thinking styles linking to your music taste could very well be the odds of chance. At least these well-rounded, balanced, and maybe even indecisive people get to enjoy all the types of music!
The underlying message to take from all these investigations is the “links between musical behavior and systemizing” supports that music taste is a reflection of your thinking style. The differences between musical preferences by “cognitive brain types” even provide the outline for many extended versions of this research for the future.