Drake or Rihanna? The Beatles or Metallica? What does listening to certain artists repeatedly teach us about how to navigate our relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners? According to researchers at the University of Toronto, our favorite songs or rather their lyrics provide insight into your typical attachment style and relationship behaviors. Attachment theory explores the different ways we bond with others and attempts to explain why we behave the way we do in relationships, especially long-term ones. Attachment styles proposed under this theory include ‘secure’ attachment, ‘avoidance/fearful’ attachment, ‘anxious/fused’ attachment, and ‘disorganized/chaotic’ attachment. In a published study in the review Personal Relationships, researchers at the University of Toronto have found that people’s (English-speaking) individual attachment styles match the lyrics of their favorite songs.
In other words, we would tend to go back to the bits that explain what we are going through in a relationship, for better or for worse. ” Lyrics matter, those of your favorite relationship songs can help validate your thoughts and feelings, but also reveal things about your relationship experiences that you may not have realized, something you go through repeatedly, that you keep coming up against. », Explains Professor Ravin Alaei who conducted the study. People characterized by an “anxious/fusional” attachment style (20% of the population on average) are often more needy in romantic relationships and need more comfort, because they fear rejection or the loss of a loved one. relationship while those characterized by an avoidant/fearful attachment style (25%) are much more likely to completely avoid intimacy and keep others at a distance: they distrust closeness and may feel trapped by romantic relationships
Which songs for which styles of attachment?
People characterized by a “disorganized/chaotic” attachment have confused expectations, oscillating between clingy and distant, while people with a “secure” attachment have little difficulty communicating with their partners. They are not afraid of intimacy, but are also comfortable alone. The research team asked 502 people to list at least seven of their favorite English songs about relationships. Participants then took assessments to determine their attachment style and levels of personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Their favorite songs were then analyzed to determine whether the lyrics portrayed an anxious, avoidant, or secure attachment style. After comparing the results with participants’ attachment styles and personality traits, it was found that people with the avoidant attachment style tended to like songs whose lyrics evoked similar attitudes.
The authors of the study therefore seem to lean towards the idea that our musical choices are simply a manifestation of our personalities, and not the reverse, even if the same tendency was not observed for those who had a style of anxious attachment, who seemed more fond of music with “themes of validation and self-expression about relationships.” On the other hand, those who scored high in the personality traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness generally liked lyrics that expressed anxiety. For example, lyrics like ” guess she gave you things that I did not give to you » (I guess she gave you things that I didn’t give you) songs from singer Adele’s “Someone Like You” reflect an anxious attachment style, according to the study. People with an avoidant attachment style may enjoy listening to the track “What’s Love Got to do With It?” by Tina Turner, which includes the words ” who needs a heart when a heart can be broken? » (who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?).
However, people with a “secure” attachment style may like ” there ain’t no hill or mountain we cannot climb” (there is no hill or mountain that we cannot climb) from “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher. In a second study, researchers analyzed the lyrics of the 823 most popular songs from 1946 to 2015 to determine the attachment styles expressed by their lyrics. Interestingly, hit songs seem to have become more “avoidant” over time. ” Popular music lyrics parallel sociological trends of social disconnection: people value independence rather than depending on others and feel more isolated. “says Ravin Alaei. Based on this observation, questions then emerge: if we listen to music that reflects our relationships, does it help or hinder our relationship skills? Furthermore, do these melodies help us to recognize unhealthy behaviors or do they reinforce them? The scientific team has indicated that answering this will be the objective of the next stage of the study.
In case of “avoidant/fearful” style of attachment, here are the appreciated songs:
1. Beyoncé, Irreplaceable
2. Chris Brown, Say Goodbye
3. N’Sync, Bye Bye Bye
4.Michael Jackson, Billie Jean
5. TLC, No Scrubs
6. Rihanna, Take a Bow
7. The Weeknd, The Hills
8. Tina Turner, What’s Love Got to do With It
In case of an “anxious/fusional” attachment style, here are the popular songs:
1. The Police, Every Breath You Take
2. Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball
3. Adele, Hello and Someone Like You
4. U2, One
5. No Doubt, Don’t Speak
6. Bruno Mars, When I Was Your Man
7. Drake, Hotline Bling
In case of “secure” style of attachment, here are the popular songs:
1. Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You
2. The Beatles, Love Me Do
3. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
4. Beach Boys, Wouldn’t It Be Nice
5. Bryan Adams, (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
6. Etta James, At Last
7. Sonny & Cher, I Got You Babe
In case of a “disorganized/chaotic” attachment style, here are the songs that are appreciated:
1. Carrie Underwood, Before He Cheats
2. Gotye, Somebody that I Used to Know
3. Taylor Swift, Bad Blood
4. Sam Smith, I’m Not the Only One
5. Ne Yo, So Sick
6. Bonnie Raitt, I Can’t Make You Love Me
7. Adele, Rolling in the Deep
8. Rihanna ft. Drake, Work
9. Eminem ft. Rihanna, Love the Way You Lie