Turns out you can totally judge someone by their taste in music and not be too far off the mark, according to a new study.
The study, titled Musical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles and recently cited by by The Hill, shows a link between musical preference and capacity for empathy.
The study's authors define empathy as "the ability to identify, predict and respond appropriately to the mental states of others", and found that fans of mellow music (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres) tend to empathize more.
They also found that fans of harsher genres (punk, heavy metal, and hard rock genres) are more prone to systemizing, or logic-based thinking.
The study's authors concluded that music preference may not increase a person's capacity for empathy.
"The present research identified the types of music that are linked to empathy, however, it did not examine if music can actually increase (or prime) empathy. That is, the results reported in this work are correlational and therefore causation cannot be inferred. However, given that previous research has found that group music-making can increase empathy and prosocial behavior, it is reasonable to hypothesize that certain types of music may increase empathy more than others."