Music and IQ

ladasky at ladasky at
Mon Sep 25 22:16:27 EST 2000

In article <6583-39CFFA71-59 at>,
  Hercules01 at (Robert Calvert) wrote:
> I sometimes wonder if there's a correlation between IQ score and
> preferences for certain kinds of music. As politically incorrect as it
> may sound, I strongly suspect that this is the case.

Permit me to make this issue "politically correct" for you again.

Given that there is a known, strong correlation between IQ score and
family income, it stands to reason that there would also be a
correlation (albeit somewhat weaker) between IQ score and socioeconomic
status.  Given that certain types of music are associated with certain
social groups -- for example, one hears less rock, rap and country, and
more classical music and jazz in the homes of executives -- it follows
that there will be a correlation between IQ score and an expressed
preference for certain kinds of music.

Whether said rich folks actually do like classical or jazz music, and
can speak about it intelligently, or whether they are simply expressing
a preference for it because they believe that it befits their status,
like the Mercedes they have parked in the driveway, is an exercise left
for the reader.

Speaking for myself, I can find musical delight in most genres.  Yet
there is also poor material everywhere.  There are classical
compositions which I find to be musically and intellectually less
engaging than the Frank Zappa album, "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar."

> When I think of
> "intelligent" music, the first thing that comes to my mind is John
> Denver. :-)

You are welcome to think anything you like.  And if you hadn't included
this comment, I might have thought that you were suggesting that one
could determine whether a type of music was "good" by examining the IQ
scores of people who express a preference for it... don't go there.

John J. Ladasky Jr., Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD 21218

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