Published in journal PLOS ONE, the research was said by its author Dr Jason Rentfrow to “highlight how music is a mirror of the self. Music is an expression of who we are emotionally, socially, and cognitively.”
Like mellow music?
If you are a fan of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’, put Norah Jones’ ‘Come Away with Me’ on repeat, or even Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, then you tend to be a empathiser.
As an empathiser, you care about the feelings of others and are more tuned in to people and their emotions. Empathisers are often drawn to careers such as counselling and support work.
Like intense tunes?On the other hand, you might prefer something a little more upbeat and intense. Think Metallica, The Sex Pistols, or ‘Etude Opus 65 No 3’ by Alexander Scriabin.
If so, you are more likely to be what researchers call systemisers. These are people who are less concerned with emotions and more tuned in to patterns and rules in the world around them. Systemisers are often drawn to careers like engineering and mathematics.
Like a bit of both?
Maybe you have mixed music tastes – Metallica one day, Dido the next. In that case, you’re a balanced being with a foot in each of the empathising and systemising camps.
What does the study mean?
The researchers who led the study of 4000 people are excited by the findings. C-author Professor Simon Baron-Cohen said the study was “a fascinating extension to the ‘empathizing-systemizing’ theory of psychological individual differences.”
He even said the research can help understand people who are highly systematic (such as people with autism), opening the door to further studies around empathisers and systemisers.