Friday, March 6, 2009

Music That Makes You Stupid?

A CalTech grad student named Virgil Griffith has conducted a study relating music preferences with SAT scores. Neat. I'm kinda smack dab in the middle. Now, my ACT scores on the other hand...

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  1. Oh please. Especially when they're averaged over large groups, SAT scores are an indicator of wealth, not smarts. Look at it again and replace the horizontal axis with "poorest" on the left and "richest" on the right, and see what conclusions you can draw.

  2. Hey Mer,
    Gotta say I'm not really seeing much of a pattern for calling out economic disparities.
    For example, ALL genres are below 1036, and "Country" rates the highest.
    Especially considering that most of the middle is (just like a bell curve) totally random with little rhyme or reason (no one genre of music really "wins").

    Really I think it's just REALLY bad science. Any first year Stat student will tell you the difference between correlation and causation.

    I mean, WE ALL KNOW that increased consumption of ice cream leads to an increase in the number of deaths by drowning ... or both could increase, completely unrelated, by hot weather.

  3. I'm with Some Audio Guy. This was a bad test, and bad conclusions were made from it.

    I happen to like all genres and I don't think there are few who've met me that would say that my collection of Rap contributes any more to my intelligence than does my passion for Chopin.

    Bad representative sample, poor normalization, no confidence interval. My former stat professors would love to have a word with this person.

    On the flip side, the original blog post had some amusing comments. I've never seen so many people lie about their SAT scores before.



  4. LOL!

    That, and I'm no slouch, but only managed a 1200 on my SAT's.

    I also find the survey nature to be unreliable. For a better representation of what people ACTUALLY listen too, they should've been issued ipods, then collected listening statistics after a period of several weeks (enough time for people to get comfy and stop pretending).

    This setup makes it too easy for people to lie. I can't believe that Beethoven really ranks that far out, and that more "shlubs" like me aren't listening to classical.

  5. Country rating the highest under 1036 makes sense if your realise that there are more poor white people in this country than any other flavor poor people. It's changing, though, so who knows.

    And you're absolutely right, it's not science at all, it's just survey-taking. But I got a 1300 on my SAT, so that makes me MUCH smarter than you, and you should listen to me.

    (but I don't listen to ole' Sufjan there.)

  6. Yes Mer.
    I concede.
    You are 8% smarter than I.


    I think that's what I'm getting at though.
    With all those poor white folk out there, shouldn't ANY OTHER GENRE of music rank higher than country?

    I totally get what you're saying, but if this were synonymous with economic disparity (not population density) then country wouldn't top the genre list.

    I think the only thing this survey shows conclusively is that there is no conclusion to be made through a survey of this sort.