Psychologist Peter Jason Rentfrow's new study has determined that "people’s aesthetic tastes can be broken down into five 'entertainment-preference dimensions:'"

They are: Aesthetic (which includes classical music, art films and poetry), cerebral (current events, documentaries), communal (romantic comedies, pop music, daytime talk shows), dark (heavy metal music, horror movies) and thrilling (action-adventure films, thrillers, science fiction). The first two fall under the general heading of highbrow, while the final three are labeled lowbrow.

“I believe most people stay in the high/lowbrow domains, and then communal,” Rentfrow said in a follow-up interview. He noted that, among study participants, “there was a fair amount of crossover,” usually between two of the highbrow or lowbrow categories. Communal a category that also includes family films and TV reality shows was the only one that attracted large numbers of devotees from both sides of the divide.

“The different dimensions can serve different functions,” he said. “Someone might really like aesthetic media, but when she’s tired, she might enjoy communal media because it’s less taxing.”

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