what our favorite songs say about us


  • Among the participants’ music preferences in the four attachment categories, some artists returned more than others: the anxious category especially liked Adele, Bruno Mars or Drake.
  • The mixed category (half clingy-half distant) especially favored Taylor Swift, Rihanna or Carrie Underwood.
  • The aloof category leaned more towards BeyoncĂ©, Chris Brown or The Weeknd, while the confident category favored Sonny & Cher, Whitney Houston or Ed Sheeran.

In a new study published in the journal Personal RelationshipsDr. Ravin Alaei and colleagues from the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto found that the way people deal with their attachment to others corresponds to the content of the lyrics of their favorite songs.

In our daily relationships, we prefer music with lyrics that describe what we’re going through, good or bad.

Your favorite songs reveal things about your relationship experiences

“Lyrics to your favorite relationship songs can help you validate your thoughts and feelings, but they can also reveal things you didn’t realize about your relationship experience—something you keep coming up against over and over again.”Ravin Alaei explained in a press release.

As the doctor explained, each person can be divided into four categories depending on his attitude towards others.

The first category is people who are anxiously closed. The latter are afraid of rejection and look for a lot to reassure their relationship. Second: people who distance themselves. They are more independent, tend to have a lot of negative anxiety about their relationships, and show little emotion. People with a mixed attachment style have mixed expectations, and they can be clingy and cold at times. Finally, there are people who are more attached to others: they are more optimistic about relationships, open to communication and trust their partners.

“We asked nearly 570 people to give us their favorite songs, then analyzed nearly 7,000 songs to find out what the lyrics say about relating to and connecting with others. We consistently found that people who distance themselves prefer music that talks about them. escape”Ravin Alaei explains.

The relationship between music and attachment style is reflected at the societal level

“I expected to see a clear relationship between anxious people and anxious songs because they are the most emotional, but surprisingly, this was the weakest result”he adds.

This relationship is manifested not only at the individual level, but also at the societal level. In a second study, researchers coded more than 800 Billboard number-one hits from 1946 to 2015 for attachment-related themes, and found that over time the songs became more distant and suspicious of relationships. “Popular music lyrics parallel sociological trends of social disengagement – people prefer independence over dependence on others and feel more isolated”Ravin Alaei analyzes.

But if we listen to music that reflects our relationships, can it help or hinder our relationship skills? This is the question that Ravin Alaei and his colleagues will investigate in their next study.

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