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A new study has revealed that you can tell what kind of attachment you have by the music you listen to most.

For the study, researchers at the University of Toronto asked 570 people to name 12 of their favourite songs and then examined the lyrics of each song for key feelings and emotions. After analysing more than 7,000 songs, they discovered that a person’s favourite songs not only reflect their thoughts and feelings, but can also reveal their type of attachment.

Attachment theory was first developed by British psychologist John Bowlby. It suggests that the attachments people form in their early childhood years directly affect the way we build our later relationships, and that there are a number of patterns that recur in the way we relate to each other. There are four possible ‘attachment styles’: secure, anxious, avoidant and anxious-avoidant.

Types of attachment

Secure attachment

This is the healthiest attachment of all and occurs when children feel unconditional love and support from their parents. This type of attachment is when the caregiver provides security and takes care to establish good communication and contact with the children.

Anxious attachment

Anxious attachment is characterised by a need for contact in the bond. In this sense, figures who did express affection but who were not very predictable in their actions make the person prioritise bodily sensations. Therefore, the person bases his or her happiness on the partner because he or she is afraid of abandonment.

Avoidant attachment

People with these types of attachment often find it difficult to be physically and emotionally intimate with others and do not seek support from others. It often develops because caregivers during childhood were strict, emotionally distant or absent.

Disorganised attachment

This is characterised by a threatening relationship in which caregivers engage in unpredictable and abusive behaviour towards the child. Later in life, they may exhibit love-hate relationships, unstable attachments, fear of abandonment or difficulties in trusting others.

According to the Toronto study, securely attached people preferred upbeat songs like Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe (“So put your little hand in mine/There’s no hill or mountain we can’t climb”). The anxiously attached opted for songs like Adele’s Someone Like You (“I guess she gave you things I didn’t give you”), while the avoidant opted for TLC’s No Scrubs (“No, I don’t want your number”). The disorganised chose Work by Rihanna and Drake (“work work work work work work work work work work”).

If you want to read the whole study, feel free to do so here.

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