New research claims enjoying Justin Bieber's music says something worrying about your personality
What do you think your music taste says about you? Personally, my music taste is a bit eclectic, and answering the question of what I listen to or not is hard enough as it is. But there are some things that I tend to listen to more than others when they turn up on shuffle, and it's hard to pin down exactly why any of those bands or artists sound good to me - and why others simply don't.
As reported by the Washington Post, a recent study has looked into exactly what the connection is between our music taste and personality types, but with a specific subset of person in mind: the psychopath.
Pascal Wallisch, a psychology professor at New York University, spoke to the publication about the research he undertook with Nicole Leal, a recent graduate of the university. They looked into the way that psychopaths listen to music, which ends up being far different from the Mozart we saw Hannibal Lector listening to in The Silence of the Lambs.
The research team wanted to find out if preferences for certain musical genres or songs are connected at all with psychopathy, a disorder characterized by manipulation and a lack of empathy. They used nearly 200 NYU psychology students for their test, rating their level of psychopathy first, then their choice of music.
They were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as "For me what's right is whatever I can get away with" and "love is overrated". They then listened to a wide range of musical selections, from the classical to recent chart-toppers, rating them on a seven-point scale. They looked for any correlation and identified the 20 songs that were most popular or least popular based on the listeners' levels of psychopathy.
They then tried the test in reverse, having students listen to songs and finding that they predicted to some extent what level of psychopathy they would score afterward. So what songs correlated with the most psychopaths?
It's bad luck if you're a Bieber fan, as his hit song "What Do You Mean" was rated highest, along with Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity".
On the other side of the spectrum, Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" and The Knack's "My Sharona" ranked lowest - so you're safe if they're favorites of yours.
Like all early studies, it may not hold up once it has been peer-reviewed, but it was presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting held in Washington this week, which had around 30,000 attendees. They haven't yet found a pattern between these songs, as originally Leal hypothesized that psychopaths might prefer songs without lyrics, something she eventually found out was unsubstantiated after their research.
When Wallisch was asked what artists or songs he liked best, he answered: "I'm really not interested in music at all." Probably the best answer to be safe, all things considered.