At first blush, layers of a personality peel back slowly. Upon meeting someone new, a rudimentary judgment blooms based on apparent age, posture, gender, style of dress and even language spoken: Liberal. Likely shops at Whole Foods. Listens to NPR. Intelligent and neat. Clearly owns a cat. Maybe two. Is that a sperm whale tattoo? We are definitely going to be friends. While our brain is adapted to make snappy assumptions, research points to a much faster (and more accurate) way of unlocking key personality elements: listening to their playlist.
Foot taps. Head nods. You might smile. Or Cry. You might get goose bumps. You might feel sadness, joy or even reverence. For a second, the face of someone you seldom think about flashes. You close your eyes to get closer. You sing along. Loudly. You feel a kinship with the person now staring from the adjoining car. Surely they approve. They do not. What on Earth is happening to you? Neurologically, you are having a strong emotional reaction to structured sounds. Simply put, you are enjoying music.