What Your Music Says About You

What Your Music Says About You

By Emi Yasuda

Rewind. Fast Forward. Repeat. Within seconds, you determine a song’s fate asthe latest addition to your playlist, or the one that will force you to change the station.Everyday, we encounter music from different genres, and artists, deciding what songs we enjoy, and what we enjoy about them. Recent studies have determined that the judgmentswe make about music illustrate not only personal preference, but are also deeply reflective of our personality.

Why is it that we enjoy the music we do? Research confirms that music choicesand personality fundamentally connected. While you may enjoy a “little bit of everything,” according to E-S theory, your propensity towards certain genres can shed light upon how you interact with others. E-S theory divides people into two personality types, empathizing and sympathizing. Empathizers are socially apt individuals, oftenextraverts who interact with ease amongst those around them. They try to figure out another’s emotions and act accordingly. Meanwhile systemizers tend to act more mechanically, on the basis of how they believe they should actThey are generally male, and tend to look at things intuitively, like a system, with a more analytical mindset. For example, if asked by a friend if they should lose weight, a systemizer would be more likely to be frank without first considering their friend’s feelings, while an empathizerwould tell a white lie for the sake of their friend’s self-esteem.

In a study conducted this July, a team of researchers asked what it is that draws people to their music choices, comparing the musical preferences of E and S personality types. Participants in the study were asked to listen to music from 26 different genres,and indicate how much they liked the music. Participants were also given a quiz to determine whether they had an empathizing or a sympathizing personality type.

Caption: Type B indicates those who are in-between an E and S personality type.


The study, which has been replicated a second time, found that empathizers lean towards mellow music like  R&B/soul, adult contemporary, and soft rock. Meanwhilesystemizers leaned towards intense genres like punk, heavy metal, and hard rock.

Researchers also looked into the sonic attributes of music valued by both types. Type E individuals leaned towards music selections with more warm and gentle attributes. The lyrics typically had greater emotional depth, and were more poetic andcalming. Meanwhile type S tended to choose more loud and tense numbers with positive themes, and more instrumental complexity.

It’s an incredible discovery to see the connections between music and personality across gender, generational, and racial divides. Do you want to find out if your music choices match your personality? Take the E vs. S quiz to find out at this link:http://personality-testing.info/tests/EQSQ.php


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