One of the first things you learn in a psychology course is that “correlation does not equal causation.” That doesn’t mean that correlation can’t still be important, however.
Researchers from Cambridge University recently found a striking correlation between personality types and our taste in music. In the study, people are broken down into two types, “empathisers” or “systemisers.” In the most basic terms, “empathizers” prefer “mellow music like R&B, soft rock and folk”, and “systemisers” preferred “punk, heavy metal and more complex music like avant-garde jazz.”
Of course, this kind of information isn’t exactly revolutionary; in fact, it’s quite common sense. But in science, it’s never about the results themselves, but how they can be generalized.
The idea behind the test was to work out how people make snap decisions about the songs they love or hate. The researchers believe their findings could be used within the industry, for example by streaming services to improve their playlists.
These findings could greatly assist in tailoring playlists and advertisements to listeners on a variety of streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.
Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, added: “The research may help us understand those at the extremes, such as people with autism, who are strong systemisers.”