Researchers have discovered your musical tastes may reveal quite a bit about your personality and the way you think.
Why is that important? In this era of digital music, learning more about people’s musical tastes and how to better market to certain groups of listeners is pure gold for services like Apple Music and Spotify, especially as the market becomes more crowded.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, led by PhD student David Greenberg, studied how our ‘cognitive style’ influences our musical choices. The researchers were able to measure if individuals scored highly on ’empathy’ or on ‘systemizing’ — or if they were a mixture of both, based on the music they prefer.
“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,” Greenberg said in a statement. “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.”
People who scored high on empathy were more apt to favor R&B, soft rock, and adult contemporary genres or country, folk, and singer/songwriter genres as well as contemporary music including electronica, Latin, acid jazz, and Euro pop.
By contrast, those who scored high on systemizing liked intense music, but disliked “mellow and unpretentious musical styles.”
Greenberg, a trained jazz saxophonist, said the research could have a whole lot of value for the music industry.
“A lot of money is put into algorithms to choose what music you may want to listen to, for example on Spotify and Apple Music. By knowing an individual’s thinking style, such services might in future be able to fine tune their music recommendations to an individual.”
The study can be read in its entirety, here.