Music empathizing (ME) and music systemizing (MS) are constructs representing cognitive styles that address different facets of interest in music listening. Here we investigate whether ME and MS are positively associated with feelings of reward in response to music listening (MR). We conducted an online-survey in which n = 202 (127 identifying as female) participants, Mage = 26.06 years, SDage = 8.66 years, filled out the Music-Empathizing-Music-Systemizing (MEMS) Inventory, the Barcelona Questionnaire of Music Reward (BMRQ), further music-related inventories, and ad hoc items representing general interest and investment in music listening. Results from a conditional inference tree analysis confirm our hypothesis by showing ME followed by MS were the most important predictors of MR. In addition, subscription to music streaming services and investing free time into music listening were also associated with higher MR. These results suggest that perceiving reward through music listening is a function of both music empathizing and music systemizing. The nonsignificant contributions of music sophistication and music style preferences deny a larger role of these factors in MR. Further research is needed to investigate the interrelationships of musical cognitive styles and MR to refine our understanding of the affective value of music listening.

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