Virgil Griffith, the creator of WikiScanner, put together a project that looks at the link between peoples’ SAT scores and the bands that they listen to. Of course SAT scores are not necessarily the best measure of intelligence, but Virgil chose it because it was easy to gather: He used Facebook to find the “10 most popular bands” for 1,352 schools via Facebook’s “network statistics” (sadly no longer available), and correlated this with each of the schools’ average SAT scores.
What he found was that the smartest people listened to Beethoven (average SAT of 1371), and the people at the low end of the scale (average SAT of 889) listened to Lil’ Wayne.
The average SAT score studies was about 1050 – and as you would assume, most bands fit squarely into this range.
Of course correlation and causation are two completely different things. Does listening to Lil’ Wayne make you dumb, or do people who are already less intelligent naturally listen to this music? Can you make yourself smarter or dumber by listening to certain types of music? Or do we just live in a society where people listen to the music that they are expected to listen to based on their perceived social standing?
These questions all remain unanswered, but it’s pretty interesting to see the results – and there are definitely some surprises – all summed up in the chart below. Listed are the 133 most popular (out of 1,455) favorite music from 1,352 schools.