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Science now says you can judge people by their taste in music after all | TheHill

For those currently partaking in the online dating scene, you may have recently been asked what your zodiac star sign is. Whether astrology is something you believe in or not, being labeled a “total” Pisces or a Sagittarius by a prospective romantic partner is a part of that person’s pursuit of gaining knowledge about who you are as a person — the same way we might ask whether someone might be a dog or a cat person. A seemingly frivolous question, many people could interpret more from your answer than what might seem obvious.

Another age-old personality question is linked to music preference. Now, thanks to research, these questions could actually help answer whether you might be more compatible with someone because you both vibe to jazz while cooking dinner, or less compatible because only one of you likes punk rock.

Musical taste matters

It turns out that there is more to the question than appears on the surface, and multiple psychological studies have supported the idea that musical preferences are actually linked to our cognitive styles, or the way we think about, and react to, the world around us. 

One study shows a link between preferred musical genres and our capacity for empathy, with results across samples showing that empathy levels are linked to preferences even within genres. Empathy, as the authors of the study explain, is “the ability to identify, predict and respond appropriately to the mental states of others,” and people use empathy while perceiving different types of musical content, reacting to it both emotionally and physiologically.

The researchers found that those they categorized as type E, or those with a bias towards empathizing, preferred mellow music that might fall within the genres of RB and soft rock, while those that prefer “Intense dimension” genres such as heavy metal and hard

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