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Your musical taste may make you smart or dumb

An American study has shown that the smartest students listened to Beethoven, Counting Crows and Sufjan Stevens.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2009 12:31 IST

An American study has shown that the smartest students listened to Beethoven, Counting Crows and Sufjan Stevens.

California Tech PhD student Virgil Griffith says that Radiohead and Ben Folds Five’s music also appealed to smart students.

However, students who prefer listening to the compositions of Lil’ Wayne and Beyonce may not score good marks in high school.

Griffith came to this conclusion after matching music preferences to US high school marks.

The “somewhat unscientific” study showed that jazz, gospel and pop were all well down the ladder.

Even classical music was behind the general pack, trailing acts like Snow Patrol and Kanye West.

Students who liked listening to “indie” music were the smartest, according to the data.

AC/DC was the only Australian band to feature, landing just below the average SAT mark.

Griffith’s study leaves people having soft spot for rock and roll in the lower third of the group.

Bob Dylan, one of the favourite artists of US President Barack Obama who has an IQ of around 130, was among the top eight performers.

Obama has an unlikely intellectual equal in Miley Cyrus, whose love for U2 rockets her up in the smarts stakes.

Although Griffith’s study suggests that the classics may not as good as thought, Dr Ras Marcellino, the Dean of the Institute of Music, insisted that music could still play a significant role in developing intelligence.

According to him, the “Mozart factor”, where parents play classical music to young children as mental stimulation, might be very helpful.

“People believe that if you played them Mozart their intelligence would improve. There’s nothing conclusive but it looks likely,” quoted Dr. Marcellino as saying.

He insisted that the liking for genteel classical tunes could not be treated as a measure of brainpower.

“You get these kids who listen to pretty full on death metal, and then they go off and do high level mathematics and computing,” he said.

Dr. Marcellino also laughted off the suggestion that his appreciation of Coldplay’s music leaves him with middle-of-the-road intelligence.

First Published: Mar 13, 2009 12:27 IST