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Are You More Of An ‘Empathiser’ or ‘Systemiser’? Your Music Playlist May Reflect Your Brain Type

Are You More Of An ‘Empathiser’ or ‘Systemiser’? Your Music Playlist May Reflect Your Brain Type

While you might think that the collection of tunes rocking around on your mp3 player or phone might just be a random assortment of your favorite songs, it turns out that you could secretly be displaying your true personality for all to see. New research published has indicated that some insight into your personality can be found by examining just what you have on your personal music playlists.

Some songs are linked with being higher in empathy and empathetic personality types, while others have indicated a more logical mental template.

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Although psychologists have long suspected a link between the kind of music that we enjoy and choose to surround ourselves with, and our personality traits, new research has expanded upon this; it has even identified certain branches of music as being more closely associated with particular “brain types”. The psychological research journal PLOS ONE has announced new research that indicates that your choices in music can help identify how your brain processes information, and therefore how you respond and react to new situations.

According to lead researcher and author David Greenberg, peoples’ cognitive styles and their personalities can help predict the kind of music they like, with Greenberg’s research breaking people down roughly into two categories. The Oxford University-based team who conducted the research spoke to 4,500 participants through apps on Facebook and Amazon (Facebook’s MyPersonality and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk applications). Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires, displaying the two types: ’empathisers’ who are more emotional, caring, and sympathetic, and ‘systemisers’, who are more logical, analytical, and objective.

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Empathisers tended to favor songs low on arousal (gentle, relaxing, reflective), with emotional depth in their lyrics and themes. This meant a tendency towards soft rock, easy listening, and adult contemporary music. Systemisers on the other hand prefer more high-energy music, such as punk, heavy metal, or hard rock music, with thrilling or strong beats.

This doesn’t mean that systemisers can’t be empathetic. People are more likely to generally exist on a spectrum, rather than to neatly fit into these two categories exactly; but, the idea of our musical preferences leading to psychological insight is intriguing to say the least. So, while you might think that your exclusive taste in Top 40 pop music might just be the way you like your tunes- (pop music has, by the way, been linked to extroversion and extrovert traits in test subjects)- it can actually be a useful insight into the way your brain works and how you process daily life.

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If you’re interested in which songs made the list for both categories, Greenberg et. al, listed some of their choices:

Songs associated with empathy

  • Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
  • Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
  • All of Me – Billie Holiday
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen

Songs associated with systemizing

  • Concerto in C – Antonio Vivaldi
  • Etude Opus 65 No 3 — Alexander Scriabin
  • God Save The Queen – The Sex Pistols
  • Enter the Sandman – Metallica

There are even some ideas for how this information can be applied. For example, imagine training yourself to be more empathetic and kinder person, by simply listening to some Jeff Buckley.

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If you’re interested in finding out where you lie on the spectrum, look over your recent musical history and ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • When you listen to music, do you often find yourself listening to the lyrics?
  • Do you specifically listen to music for the lyrical content and themes?
  • When watching charity advertisements on TV, do you often find yourself moved by them?

if you answered ‘yes’ to all three of the questions above, then you might just be leaning more towards the ’empathiser’ camp, while those who didn’t may find themselves more aligned with ‘systemisers’.

Psychological research into music is a rapidly developing area, and we can expect to see further developments as our relationships with the songs we love and our brains continues to be explored in depth.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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