(Photo: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
(Photo: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

Your music taste can be affected by the way you think, a team of scientists have found.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at how our thinking influences our musical choices, and found that tastes can vary based on how empathetic and analytical people are.

David Greenberg from the Department of Psychology, said:

Although people's music choices fluctuates over time, we've discovered a person's empathy levels and thinking style predicts what kind of music they like.

In fact, their cognitive style - whether they're strong on empathy or strong on systems - can be a better predictor of what music they like than their personality.

The researchers conducted multiple studies with over 4,000 participants, who were recruited mainly through Facebook.

They asked them to take a selection of psychology-based questionnaires and at a later date, they were asked to listen to and rate 50 musical pieces.

The researchers used library examples of musical stimuli from 26 genres and sub-genres, to minimise the chances that participants would have any personal or cultural association with the piece of music.

The results showed that those who were ‘systemisers’ liked some certain genres of music more than ‘empathisers’, and vice versa.

Dr Jason Rentfrow, the senior author on the study 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.

Are you an ‘empathiser’ or a ‘systemiser’? Take our quiz to see:

Note: Empathisers like to focus on recognising and reacting to the thoughts and feelings of other people, rather than looking at the complexities of systems and analysing patterns. Sympathisers are more interested in understanding the rules underpinning systems such as the weather, music, or car engines than they are in engaging with the emotions of others.

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