Thursday, September 21, 2006

Education vs. Taste in Music

Rap fans tend to be less educated? Here's the science:
Ever wondered whether the classical music aficionado next door has had a bit more schooling than the guy blasting rap from his car? New research suggests you may be on to something. A lot of the stereotypes concerning musical taste and socioeconomic status appear to be true.

Psychologist Adrian North of the University of Leicester, U.K., wanted to test musical stereotypes. So he and David Hargreaves of the Open University in Milton Keynes, U.K., conducted an extensive survey in the United Kingdom. The researchers buttonholed more than 2000 fans of 35 different musical styles in various places such as campuses, shopping malls, and train stations and asked them to fill out a questionnaire detailing their jobs, relationships, beliefs, and consumer habits.

As stereotypes might suggest, those with the most education were also the main fans of opera, classical music, and jazz. For example, 8.5% of the classical music lovers had Ph.D.s, compared with 1.4% of those who favored disco music. And classical music lovers' incomes averaged $66,000 compared to $44,000 for lovers of popular dance music. Classical music buffs were also inclined toward intellectual fare, such as current-affairs magazines, whereas the rap/pop crowd favored magazines about cars, women, or celebrities.

One "clear pattern" to emerge was a clustering of antisocial tendencies among young fans of pop, rap, and rock. For example, 53% of hip-hop fans admitted to having committed a criminal act, compared to 18% of fans of musicals.
Of course, some of the data doesn't fit stereotypes. Opera fans are listed as being the least likely to shower. Odd.

I wonder how I'd fall into that progression. I have a rather eclectic mix of music on my iPod.


T. said...

Very interesting study!! Sadly much of it isn't surprising.

steve the troll said...

Not surprising, not interesting. It's a result of culture. Your music, education level, and criminal activity is all part of your culture. I perform this study on a daily basis.