CalTech grad student named Virgil Griffith has conducted an interesting (albeit somewhat unscientific) study relating music preferences with SAT scores. While SAT scores are criticized for not accurately determining intelligence, the results show that the â€œsmartestâ€ studentsâ€™ favorite musician is Beethoven, with an average SAT score of 1371, and at the other end of the spectrum is Lilâ€™ Wayne, with an average score of 889.
Other bands at the top of the scale are Counting Crows, Radiohead, and Sufjan Stevens. Check out the full image of the results after the jump:
Surprisingly, no style of music stands out above the rest, but rather most bands fit within the 1000 to 1150 score range. Another question is whether music can be legitimately associated with smarts.
1436 is the highest SAT score he used? At MIT? My SAT score was 1442 and my eldest brother got a 1480 (perfect math).
10 thoughts on “Music can make you stupid?”
Never took any of those tests. Don’t believe in them. I enjoy a wide range of music, including classical. I prefer Mozart.
@Puulaahi: It depends a bit on my mood. I do like Eroica though and his 9th symphony finale was the first ‘serious’ piece I learned on the violin.
Beethoven that is.
@nyokki: Wish I could play the violin. Such an beautiful sounding instrument. That’s so awesome that you can play. I am learning the harmonica, not going too well though. I am kind of musically retarded.
so what’s the hypothesis here?
-Stupid people listen to stupid music?
-Stupid music makes people stupider?
And what’s the correlation between the composer and the performer? Justin Timberlake is a good example, he’s a pretty good piano player and a fairly good singer. Some of his stuff on piano is really well done. What if someone else was playing his piece on a piano?
Another question : How many of these people have ACTUALLY heard Beethoven play? Does it make me dumber to listen to Bond’s version of a Beethoven piece as opposed to the Boston Orchestra’s interpretation?
This kind of junk science is really just insulting to me, if only because I like a huge swath of music that happens to included about 99% of the shit on there.
Including Beethoven 😉 My SAT was a 1110 I think, but as we all know, the SAT score have nothing to do with your actual intelligence, just how well you were prepared for the test.
The study is so unscientific it hurts. Its just the average test scores for different school (which is why 1436 is the highest) compared to the most common music preferences on facebook profiles for those schools.
I think that was the whole point…making correlations says nothing about causality. I really thought it was a joke, not meant to be taken seriously.
I like the muzac they play in elevators. Does that makes me smarts?
@Puulaahi: I’m not any good. I seem to have no sense of beat, rhythm or style. I can read music, but not translate it to song if I don’t already know it.
Where is Tom Waits on this list? Jeff Buckley? Leonard Cohen? He used college kids for this and those three aren’t on there, what gives?
I neeeeeeed to knooooooooow so I can have some vaaaaalidaaaaaatiooooooon.
Feel free to largely ignore this idiosyncratic post.