A new study has found some pretty interesting data about how personal preference in music can determine whether people lean more ‘warmly empathetic’ or ‘cooly logical’ in everyday life.
The 2015 research article, recently picked up by Metal Injection, is being held as apparent proof that one can accurately judge a person’s personality by their musical tastes.
So you’re probably wondering what it says about hard rock and heavy metal and those that listen to it.
The study claims that listeners of what they call the “Intense dimension” genres usually exhibit a bias towards being more systematic or logical, as opposed to being more empathetic people in everyday life.
As for the empathetic? Turns out to be listeners of R&B and soft rock, the study says.
The research also claimed to show that those who prefer softer music, or type E, tend to gravitate to more “gentle, warm and sensual” songs that might have dark or sad themes. Metalheads, or type S types, apparently prefer “high arousal” and “strong, tense and thrilling” music.
“Why do we like the music we do?” asks the study’s introduction. “Research has shown that musical preferences and personality are linked, yet little is known about other influences on preferences such as cognitive styles. To address this gap, we investigated how individual differences in musical preferences are explained by the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory.”
Ultimately, they found that listeners “who are type E (bias towards empathizing) preferred music on the Mellow dimension (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres) compared to type S (bias towards systemizing) who preferred music on the Intense dimension (punk, heavy metal and hard rock).”
“Research over the past decade has argued that musical preferences reflect explicit characteristics such as age, personality and values,” the study says. “Indeed, findings across studies and geographic regions have converged to show that the Big Five personality traits are consistently linked to preferences.”
Past scientific studies about music that are unrelated to the above research have claimed that rock and metal listeners are among the happiest music fans out there. Listening to metal can also help lower blood pressure apparently. So there’s that too.
As always, take stuff like this with a pinch of salt. I personally know a shit ton of empathetic metalheads.