Your Taste in Music Can Reveal How Smart (or Dumb) You Are


Your Taste in Music Can Reveal How Smart (or Dumb) You Are
Ads by Google
Bing™ Music
Search and Play Full Songs for Free on Bing. Downloads, Lyrics & More.
Virgil Griffith, popularly known for the Wikipedia Scanner that detects where the Wikipedia edits are coming from, maintains another very interesting project that maps musical tastes of college students with their intelligences levels (determined by their SAT score).

The x-axis represent the SAT score while the colored boxes indicate the music genre and the artist / composer.

 Fans of Lil Wayne‘s music scored the lowest in SAT while listeners of Beethoven‘s work were among the highest scorers. The full chart is available at Music That Makes You Dumb.

To come up with this chart, Virgil used Facebook to determine the “Favorite music” at different colleges in US and then combined it with the average combined SAT scores of students from these colleges. He has done a similar exercise for books as well.

The musical taste vs SAT score chart maps the 133 most popular (out of 1,455) favorite music from 1,352 schools. In terms of music genres, it follows like this – Soca < Gospel < Jazz < Hip Hop < Pop < Oldies < Raggae < Alternative < Classical < R&B < Rap < Rock < Country < Classic Rock < Techno in increasing order of SAT scores. .

 Reader Comments

I always knew that Techno and Hip Hop makes people go insane :-p
Written by Marco on 02.24.09

The depth of research and the quality of writing can tell how smart or stupid the author is.
Written by Mike on 02.24.09

So Amit, what is your favorite style of music?
Written by Corey on 02.24.09

 and we all know how reliable SAT scores are! smart people always score high, and dumb people always score low. sort of a dumb study if you ask me
Written by miershpedankl on 02.24.09

I’ve never been a fan of the SAT test either.
Written by Kevin English on 02.24.09

 Hmmm, but what if (say) Soca is really a smart person’s band, but the few Soca lovers at the low SAT schools said they liked Soca on their Facebook page, and the multitude of Soca lovers at the smart schools don’t have Facebook pages, or didn’t mention Soca on their pages? Soca would then tend to look like a low SAT band. This study needs to factor out this skewing effect.
Written by Kerry Soileau on 02.24.09

“Soca” isn’t a band. It’s a form of music from the West Indies. More importantly, soca is from an area that leans toward Great Britain and Europe. Listeners of this music usually speak more than one language so I find it funny to believe they aren’t as intelligent b/c they score low on American tests…
Written by AnthonyF on 02.24.09

 Jazz fans are dumber than Counting Crows fans? This reads like a statement about the connection between race and privilege more than intelligence to me. Now that I think about it a little, anyway.
Written by Marshall Kirkpatrick on 02.24.09

 LOL…Kerry-’Soca’ is a form of a music, not a band! It is a tropical rhythm from the West Indies, somewhat similar to Calypso & Merengue. Reggaeton is also a form of music, from the Caribbean, initially from Panamá. 🙂 It’s all good-interesting post….
Written by Harold Cabezas on 02.24.09

 Ahhh.. this is a naaice posst..
is the reverse also true,
listen to this music to get a better score… lolzzzzzzz
Written by sahil on 02.24.09

 sometime people listen to some music because their friends listen to it who has significant influence on their life. But this does not signify that it will influence their personality.
Written by Gajendra on 02.25.09

 I don’t think anybody would deny the fact the Beatles are one of the most popular bands ever. If this is true than their average listener would have a SAT score around 1150. This just isn’t true, and therefore the whole thing is must be wrong. The same is true for U2, who are an enormously successful band. Their fan base does not have the average SAT score of 1250. So once again it’s inaccurate. I also have to reiterate what Marshall said, “This reads like a statement about the connection between race and privilege more than intelligence”. I think he’s onto something here!
Written by Michael Fidler on 02.25.09

 it’s a survey… not fact.
Written by evan on 02.25.09

Virgil clearly scores on the low end of that chart, this study is so flawed it’s comical.
Written by Riyadh on 02.25.09
eugenics 2.0?
Written by Andrew on 02.25.09

SATs /= intelligence
Please don’t post things like this ever again. It lowers the level of discourse.
Written by Social Scientist on 02.25.09

 Looks like racial profiling to me.
Written by Gork Gorkman on 02.26.09

 Marshall, I’m inclined to agree with you about the general value of this chart, but “jazz vs Counting Crows” is a bad demonstration. It looks like there’s a clear correlation between SAT score and *specificity* – people who said they like ANY genre generally tended to score lower.
(Actually the correlation says nothing about what individuals scored; it should be “colleges where people tended to say they liked genres tended to have lower SAT scores”. And it’s also confused by what Kerry was getting at, the reliance on self-reporting via Facebook.)
So all genres correlate with lower SAT scores than Counting Crows (and most other bands), fine. But are country fans really smarter than jazzbos? There’s your race and privilege.
Written by Erik on 02.26.09

 Someone already said it, but yeah, the SAT has nothing to do with intelligence, so this chart is complete BS. All you have to know to get a good score on the SAT is how to take a standardized test. Why do you think a state as dumb as Georgia ranked #8 in the country last year for SAT scores? When you get 3-4 standardized tests thrown at you every year of your public school career, you learn how to take a standardized test.
Written by Ashley Ling on 02.26.09

What , no heavy metal bands ??
Written by Gary on 02.27.09

What about listening to metal? I love that genre and still get straight A’s.
Written by mikeyj on 02.27.09

I agree with the racial profile, due to the fact that I score a 1300, and beyonce is most played artist on my ipod, and I feel that its wrong for you to post this knowing people are going to see it, and may discourage many of them!!!!!
Written by Allyn on 02.27.09

actually, the SAT does have quite a bit to do with a basic intelligence level. knowing how to take a standardized test does not correlate to the SAT as much as basic intelligence. its simply a timed test with basic questions asked, so there really is no secret on how to take it – just answer the questions.
Written by well on 03.01.09

 I was looking around for Radiohead. There it is, way at the top of the chart. <3
Written by Rin on 03.01.09

 I know I’ll probably find them the second after I publish this post, but I don’t see either of the two examples quoted (Li’l Wayne and Beethoven, two names never before seen in the same sentence). Also, the link provided just takes me to a blank page.
Another thing not covered by this “research” is the effect of a strong show at that campus. If an act comes in and delivers a stunning show, they will suddenly be a lot of people’s favorite. Usher, for instance, has an amazing stage show even though his actual music doesn’t particularly stand out. Same goes for Kiss. For the untrained ear, spectacle equals musical ability in their after-show memory; most folks hear with their eyes. Written by GeorgeP on 03.02.09

 It would seem to me that basing a persons IQ on what he or she listens to is really unjustified,not all people listen to the same music,but those of us who remember when music was music do not judge anyone for,what they listen to or how intellengent they maybe or not.Some people can listen to “Beyonce” and be a genius,and those who listen to say the “Counting Crows” can be a dumb as a door nail,meaning that they do not utilize what they have in their own brain as their own potential.
If you wish to judge a person on how smart they are talk to them about “what is the meaning of life and everything”,
this question can baffle most people who do not know it,do youwho wish to judge those who do not share your same taste in music,as for me I am an eclectic,which if you do now know what it means is:a complement of most all types of music from “Reggae to Rock to The Eagles to Jimi Hindricks to The Grateful Dead to U2 to The Counting Crows” so if you go by your IQ test by the music I listen to I am where? You can not avaluate a persons IQ just by what HE or SHE listens to.
Written by William on 03.03.09

 this chart is retarded. i listen to 75% techno/dance music (the other 25% is a mixture between rock, r&b and anything upbeat) and i got a 1250 on my SAT.
nice fail.
Written by J on 03.03.09

 I want to hit you folks with kinda a jewel from the great Lauryn Hill (A HIPHOP Legend)…She said “So even after all my logic and theory/I add a mutha–ker so you ignorant niggers can hear me”. I wrote link on the fact that some judge the intellect of rappers before ever trying to “hear” what they are supposed to be listening to. Some things go beyond the depths of surveys and categories. I’m a fan of all forms of music, but my preference is always HIPHOP, because it helped me learn a lot of relevant facts that school doesn’t teach. Wow..I guess we have all been “Mis-educated” like Lauryn Hill.
Written by keitht7 on 03.03.09

Gospel < Jazz < Hip Hop.
Wow… just wow.
Written by frikkkkkin jenious! on 03.05.09

 Can any of us really say we know better? Is it possible pitch, musical algorithm and neurological functions arent affected by our senses? I know all studies are biased, and if your a conspiracist, think about how detrimental this info, if correct would affect all media. As DMX said,”Like woa”.
Written by rita on 03.06.09

 I believe that this study is unreliable and if you read about how this Virgil guy went about all this it just don’t seem that this is an appropriate study. What if the the kid who scored the best on the test listens to TI, and the Dumbest listens to Dylan. this is a bull crap study that has poorly based data to back it up. What if you like TI and Dylan where do you stand? Plus the SAT’s does not determine if you are dumb or smart. it book sense not common sense wich Virgil is missing. so if this study is true i can see him being a big fan of whang-chung.
Written by D Balcomb on 03.07.09

 This graph seems a little suspiciously racist. Just look at the placements of the genres. Genres that are generally associated with African Americans are significantly scored lower than that of the Caucasian ones. There’s no way that counting crows fans are smarter than John Coltrane and Miles Davis fans. Jazz is far closer to classical style music than that of alternative rock.
This study isn’t credible because it was not conducted through correct scientific method. It is poor science. All I can deduce is that there would be a bias against Black people would be from income differences, resulting in decreased brain function from malnutrition-thus creating lower initial SAT scores.
Written by jenni on 03.10.09

 I love soca music and was in my last year of high school at 14, so a problem exists with his analysis.
The following is from his analysis:
“Get a friend of yours to download, using Facebook, the ten most frequent “favorite music” at every college via that college’s Network Statistics page on Facebook (manually — as not to violate Facebook’s ToS”
Not in this lifetime, would soca music be charted as a top ten musical genre in any American college in the USA. People like this are objectionable.
Written by June on 03.11.09

It is ludicrous to suggest that there is racial profiling in this study. people put in their own music preferences. Furthermore i am Black and African and I think that Lil Wayne stupid lyrics CAN make you dumber. Or maybe you already have to be stupid to appreciate his music
Written by edu on 03.18.09

 umm.. this is the most ridiculous, modern day prejudice BS that I have ever read. I am a fond hip hop fan, has been since forever, and am quite intelligent, a student a northwestern university, and dedicate a substantial amount of my intelligence to rap music. there are a number of problems with this study and someone needs to educate Griffiths, ironically….
Written by josh on 03.18.09

 They shouldn’t group “rap” all together, cuz some of it is really superficial like lil wayne or jay-z, but stuff like eminem is really deep.
Written by Kilik on 03.21.09

2 Responses to Your Taste in Music Can Reveal How Smart (or Dumb) You Are

  1. 6cLFh2 I value the post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  2. Merely wanna remark that you have a very nice web site , I love the style it really stands out.