Scientists at New York University have done some fascinating research on the favourite songs of psychopaths.
Psychology professor Pascal Wallisch and his colleague Nicole Leal tested more than 190 NYU students with questions including their level of agreement with the statements “For me what’s right is whatever I can get away with” and “Love is overrated”, rating their level of psychopathy. “The cliche is [psychopaths] are all in prison, but they’re all over,” Wallisch told the Washington Post.
The students listened to a range of songs from classical to modern hits and the researchers identified around 20 songs that were either popular or unpopular based on the listener’s level of psychopathy.
An abstract for the research, presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington D.C. this week, said: “Little is known about the aesthetic preferences of psychopathic individuals. Psychopaths are often portrayed as having stereotypical preferences for classical music. We wondered whether this is an accurate representation of this condition and whether psychopaths differ from controls in terms of aesthetic preferences in general.”
According to the scientists, these are some of songs that were popular among psychopaths:
“Lose Yourself” by Eminem
“No Diggity” by Blackstreet
“What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber
And these are some of the songs on the low end of the psychopathy scale:
“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits
“My Sharona” by The Knack
“Titanium” by Sia
Speaking to Shortlist, Wallisch said: “The potential application is a screening test. Particularly because these people seek out neither diagnosis nor treatment.”
And this isn’t the only research looking into the correlation between music and psychopathy.
According to The Guardian, Kevin Dutton, a psychologist at Oxford, has been gathering data on musical tastes and other preferences for a psychopath study with Channel 4. More than three million people have responded and the results so far suggest psychopaths favour rap music over classical and jazz.