Thursday, 12 Mar, 2009 Science

Analyzing Musical Preferences and Level of Intelligence


Fans of Beyonce and Lil' Wayne may be disappointed to find that they're not really smart, according to a study carried out by a Californian student, who collected musical preferences of American high-school students and matched them with their performance at school.

PhD student Virgil Griffith carried out a research to discover that the smartest students enjoyed listening to Beethoven, Counting Crows, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead and Ben Folds Five.

Among students that did the worst in school, the most popular artists were Lil' Wayne, Beyonce and Soca.

However, the study also found that jazz, gospel and pop and even classical music were behind such artists as Snow Patrol and Kanye West. The research showed that the smartest people usually listen to "indie" music.

According to Dean of the Institute of Music, Dr Ras Marcellino, music can have a benefiting effect on developing intelligence. "People believe that if you played them Mozart their intelligence would improve. There's nothing conclusive but it looks likely," he said.

Dr Marcellino also mentioned that admiration of genteel classical tunes was not the factor that can measure of brain power. "You get these kids who listen to pretty full on death metal, and then they go off and do high level mathematics and computing," he said.

It is worth mentioning that his favorite band is Coldplay the Mr Griffiths marked Daft Punk as his favorite. Interestingly enough, neither Coldplay nor Daft Punk featured on the student's graph.

The full graph is available here .

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53 votes

//14 Nov 10, 2010 06:05 AM | posted by: Harry
This is retarded. I like every single artist on the list and my favorites are Lil Wayne and Radiohead.
54 votes

//13 Sep 27, 2009 04:57 AM | posted by: Jordan
I listen to both Lil Wayne And Beethoven Regularly and i love both types of music. So am i stupid or smart? I like listening to lotsa different types of music because i have an open mind. Unlike me, most teenagers don't have Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on their Ipod though...
55 votes

//12 Aug 12, 2009 10:44 PM | posted by: snorkin
to Dan:

You're right that correlation does not equal causation, however, there was nothing in the article mentioning causation.

It merely states that smart kids like Beethoven and dumb kids like Lil' Wayne.
46 votes

//11 Aug 02, 2009 12:23 AM | posted by: Sarah
I think there's a confounding variable at play here. Beethoven isn't necessarily causally responsible for higher SAT scores--more likely this reflects the fact that those who are more likely to study and hire tutors and retake the SAT several times are also those who would place a higher value on listening to classical music.
58 votes

//10 Jul 25, 2009 05:06 PM | posted by: whatever
Coldplay is shown on the students graph
62 votes

//9 Jul 25, 2009 06:43 AM | posted by: Trouser
This is just oozing with endogeneity problems!
60 votes

//8 Jul 24, 2009 07:17 PM | posted by: smitty
...Or the last generation of people started listening to certain types of music, which in turn lead to the results you see today. By the next generation, these could have entirely switched depending on who is popular right now.
54 votes

//7 Jul 24, 2009 06:48 AM | posted by: Charley
This has to be the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a long time... Is it a joke? No, really... I'm wondering if someone mistook humor for something real...
54 votes

//6 Jul 24, 2009 05:20 AM | posted by: wat
So what happens when I like artists, including Beethoven, that are all over the place?
56 votes

//5 Jul 23, 2009 09:08 PM | posted by: Dan
Alan's right. Correlation does not equal causation. Would you say that Jerry Springer makes people dumb? Or that people who are dumb are more inclined to watch Jerry Springer?
51 votes

//4 Apr 13, 2009 10:07 PM | posted by: alcotrazz [InfoMANIAC]
wonder why metallica is not on the list?
47 votes

//3 Apr 12, 2009 12:01 AM | posted by: Alan
Why is classical waaay to the left then beethoven waay on the right?

And Coldplay IS on there

Also this only shows relations, not cause and effect. In other words, the intelligence probably causes the music preferences not the other way around.
57 votes

//2 Mar 13, 2009 03:20 PM | posted by: Hey ZeMann
There's no word in the story about a "scientific study", it's just a research and it's not really scientific. ZeMann - you're probably affected by the study's results - confess - what's you're favorite artist?
58 votes

//1 Mar 13, 2009 12:26 AM | posted by: ZeMann
This has bad scientific study written all over it.

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