Music taste as an indicator of neuroses?

Further to my post about the casual experiment on music taste and intelligence, I wonder if anyone has taken it upon themselves to record the music tastes of people suffering from certain neuroses, mental disorders or otherwise somewhere towards the fringes of the general personality spectrum. In particular, what people on the autistic spectrum listen to.

~ by CallistoRising on October 2, 2011.

7 Responses to “Music taste as an indicator of neuroses?”

  1. I knew a couple of spergies in high school. Most of them listened to videogame music, or to whatever was popular. The former was a reflection of what they spent all of their time doing, while the latter may have been a misguided attempt to fix their social ineptitude. I notice that some fairly nerdy people, who weren’t diagnosed but probably fell on the autistic spectrum somewhere, tended to pick one band and listen to that band exclusively.

    • The clinically very aspergic people (btw, I say ‘aspie’ but I’m just splitting hairs) are pretty much how you mentioned.

      My post is mainly influenced by the observation that there seems to be a high frequency of heavy metal fans who are somewhere on the spectrum, or at least as a whole, they are more on the spectrum than fans of other styles of music. The general consensus of those who have observed this is because of the escapism. The majority of metal subgenres are escapist to some degree by virtue of having their own value system that appeals to the ‘nerd’ archetype or alienated male, nuances aside. I say that with plenty of self-awareness as a metal musician and broadly being on the autistic spectrum (in a simple ‘yes/no’ dichotomy) or some approximation of the INTJ type.

      I imagine I’ll expand on this in another post though all are welcome to get the ball rolling to discuss further.

      • Metalheads are an odd bunch. Outside of the meathead/jock demographic that punches beer cans and listens to Pantera, they seem to fall into two broad groups. One is the vaguely autistic group of people who almost remind me of classical fans with ADHD; metal is music that one enjoys with the abstract mind rather than the emotions, so it’s more or less tailor made for this group. There’s a smaller group of metalheads that consists of people who are, I suspect, inwardly very sensitive, who became metalheads in order to go into “kill mode” as some kind of defense mechanism. The second group is usually virulently anti-social and bitter. There may be some overlap between these two groups.

      • That sounds about right, though it’s a continuum.

        If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m a mix of both (although I do enjoy ‘affect’ in music and my taste is about 50% metal and 50% a mish-mash of other stuff). It would appear the more sensitive and pitiful the individual, the greater the defence mechanism. At the extreme end you have certain black metal fans (the basement dweller stereotype) who espouse misanthropy and ‘elitism’. The problem is, it can be compounded by the fact that regular joes will perceive extreme music with that kind of self-rationalisation and that therefore nobody could genuinely ‘enjoy’ metal, especially not the extreme stuff. Even so, a lot of people could do with a bit of self-analysis. I guess there’s a point past which if you disengage from the social process (out of rejection or whatever) then you will eventually create an alternative reality for yourself.

  2. Escapism? That could be. I was under the impression that it was the highly structured music of metal that appealed to “aspies” on an intuitive level?

    • Yes, that also. Just look at the number of blatant aspies into Dream Theater. Conversely, all the very ‘normal/cool’ people into stripped-down or more immediate forms of metal.

  3. Phhhh, Some list. Where’s Aphex Twin? LOL, just kidding. But seriously?

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