Why do we like the music we do?: Musical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles?

· Public Health & Hygiene
Authors

Study results across samples showed that empathy levels are linked to preferences even within genres and account for significant proportions of variance in preferences over and above personality traits for various music-preference dimensions. Study 2 (N= 353) replicated and extended these findings by investigating how musical preferences are differentiated by ‘brain types’.

Type E (bias towards empathizing) preferred music on the Mellow dimension (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres)

Type S (bias towards systemizing) preferred music on the Intense dimension (punk, heavy metal, and hard rock)

Analyses of fine-grained psychological and sonicattributes in the music revealed that type E individuals preferred music that featured low arousal (gentle, warm, and sensual attributes), negative valence (depressing and sad), and emotional depth (poetic, relaxing, and thoughtful), while type S preferred music that featured high arousal (strong, tense, and thrilling), and aspects of positive valence (animated)and cerebral depth (complexity). The application of these findings for clinicians, interventions, and those on the autism spectrum (largely type S or extreme type S) are discussed.

* Musical preferences are explained by the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory.

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