Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

Don’t Panic! 5 Things To Do When You’ve Messed Up I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life Not Enough Time? 10 Tips Of Time Management To Make Every Minute Count 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier 8 Signs It’s Time To End The Relationship

Trending in Communication

1 11 Red Flags in a Relationship Not To Ignore 2 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck 3 Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating 4 7 Simple Ways To Be Famous In One Year 5 How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

Advertising

The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

Advertising

The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

Advertising

Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

Advertising

The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

Read Next