People with higher empathy levels have different view of music, a study says. Highly empathy people see music as more than just an art form. Their brains process music in a significantly different way.

According to this new study, around 20 percent of the population is genetically sensitive to empathy. It was published in the journal Brain and Behavior. People with this property react to stimuli and others’ emotions more sensitively and emotionally.

Empathy is routinely divided into two types, of which first is emotional empathy that is characterized by when a person is minded to share the emotional burden of others. Cognitive empathy allows people to recognize and understand the feelings of others without having to ask out loud.

Experts put forward links between empathy and music by showing that the brains of highly empathic people process music in a similar way to social situations.

This new study was led by researchers at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Their research recognized that highly empathic people showed an increase in activity in the dorsal striatum – the brain’s reward system – when music was played. That means music is found to be more than a creative form to those with high empathy levels.

“If music was not related to how we process the social world, then we likely would have seen no significant difference in the brain activation between high-empathy and low-empathy people,” said Lead study author Zachary Wallmark.

“If music can function something like a virtual ‘other, then it might be capable of altering listeners’ views of real others.”