According to a recent study, we do tend to prefer music with lyrics that match our attachment style. In other words, the music we listen to would reflect our social relationships, says a team of researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto.
“Lyrics matter, so pay attention to them”
Researchers have found that our individual attachment styles often correspond to the lyrics of our favorite songs: we tend to back to tunes that talk about how we handle our relationships.
“The lyrics to your favorite relationship songs can help validate your thoughts and feelings, but can also reveal things about your relationship experiences that you may not have realized – something that you go through repeatedly, that you keep coming up against,” says Dr. Ravin Alaei in a statement (source 1).
And the main author of the study recalls the four main styles of attachment:
- anxious / fusional attachment (people fear rejection and seek reassurance in their relationships);
- avoidant/fearful attachment (people are more independent, tend to have a lot of negative apprehension about their relationships and show little emotion);
- attachment secure(people have a rather optimistic view of relationships, are open to communication and trust their partners)
- and disorganized/chaotic attachment (people can sometimes be clingy, but also very cold).
As part of their study, the researchers compiled the favorite songs of 570 people. They then analyzed the approximately 7,000 songs to study what their lyrics said about their attachment style. “We have consistently found that people who attach themselves with distance prefer music that speaks of avoidance”explains Ravin Alaei.
I expected to see a clear relationship between anxious people and anxious songs because they are the most emotional, but surprisingly, this was the most tenuous result, he comments.
And these correlations are reflected not only at the individual level, but also at the societal level. Indeed, in a second study, the researchers analyzed more than 800 number one hits of the Billboard from 1946 to 2015 based on attachment styles. They found that over the years, the lyrics became more avoidant: “popular music lyrics parallel sociological trends of social disconnection – people value independence rather than depending on others and feel more isolated,” says Ravin Alaei.
The next work of the team must now find out whether listening to music that reflects our relationships helps or hinders our relationship skills…