In case we haven’t told you, Reddit might just be the best site on the internet. And I’ll argue that to my death, so don’t test me bro.

Ever heard of Virgil Griffith? Me neither until 20 minutes ago.

Known for running the Wikipedia Scanner (which detects where Wikipedia edits are coming from), Griffith has recently started to branch out in terms of his scope of work. His latest project brings up an interestingly sensitive question:

Does the music you listen to help determine your intelligence level?

It’s a bold question with an even bolder answer.

In his quest for a clarity, Virgil came up with a system.

In the words of Virgil Griffith, here’s how it worked:

  1. 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). These ten “favorite musics” are perhaps indicative of the overall intellectual milieu of that college.
  2. Download the average SAT/ACT score (from CollegeBoard) for students attending every college.
  3. Presto! We have a correlation between musical tastes and dumbitude (smartitude too)!
  4. Plot the average SAT of each “favorite music”, discarding those with too few samples to have a reliable average.
  5. Post the results on your website, pondering what the Internet will think of it.

Music taste <=> Colleges <=> Average SAT Scores

To sum it up, Virgil used Facebook to determine the “favorite music” of students in different college institutions across the US and then combined their tastes with average SAT (with standard error) scores of students from the respective colleges. The x-axis shows the SAT score and the colored boxes indicate the music genre and the artist.The vertical axis doesn’t mean anything.

And if you’re the type of person who questions everything you see or hear (it’s your right!), here’s a breakdown example of Radiohead.

So next time you tune into your favorite radio show for an update on the week’s latest Top 40 hits, take a second or five to think about the music you’re listening to and how it makes you a dumber person.

Unless it’s Gospel music. Then you’re good.

Music That Makes You Dumb

Virgil Griffith