The study found that fans of the Sex Pistols are likely to be more organised – while those who prefer Queen will probably respond better to other people’s emotions.
The researchers believe that people fall somewhere on a broad spectrum that runs from ‘systemisers’ (those who like to analyse rules and patterns in the world) to ’empathisers’ (those who focus on and respond to the emotions of others). And everyone’s taste in music reflects where they sit on this scale.
In general empathetic people prefer mellow music from R&B to soft rock and what the report called ‘unpretentious’ music such as folk as well as contemporary music including electronica and Euro pop. They tend to go for reflective tunes or sad or depressing songs and those with emotional depth.
The study picked out tracks such as Jeff Buckley’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ Norah Jones’s ‘Come Away with Me’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen as having a particularly high appeal to empathetic people.