WHAT MUSIC DO PSYCHOPATHS LIKE? MORE BIEBER, LESS BACH

[Dana’s note: While I know this subject is not related to hard rock/heavy metal, I thought it interesting, nonetheless]

Amy Ellis Nutt of the The Washington Post reports:

Despite the film industry’s depiction of psychopaths, classical music is not their go-to soundtrack in the real world.

“In the movies, if you want to establish in one shot that a monster has a human side,” said Pascal Wallisch, a psychology professor at New York University, filmmakers play a certain kind of music. There’s Beethoven in “A Clockwork Orange” or Mozart in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Wallisch and Nicole Leal, a recent graduate of NYU, wanted to find out if a preference for certain musical genres is correlated with psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by manipulativeness and a lack of empathy.

The researchers gave a questionnaire to more than 190 NYU psychology students that rated their level of psychopathy. It includes questions such as, “For me what’s right is whatever I can get away with” and “Love is overrated.”

“The cliche is they [psychopaths] are all in prison, but they’re all over,” Wallisch said.

The students listened to a songs from a wide range of musical selections, from classical to recent Billboard 100 songs, and rated them on a seven-point scale. Most of the songs were unfamiliar to the students. Wallisch and Leal looked for correlations between preferences for certain songs and the students’ scores on the psychopathy scale. They identified about 20 songs that seemed to be particularly popular or unpopular depending on the listener’s level of psychopathy…

…Among the songs with the highest correlation were Eminem’s “=Lose Yourself, the Academy and Grammy award-winning rap song popularized in the 2002 movie 8 Mile, and Blackstreet’s No Diggity, which ousted Macarena”for Billboard’s top spot in 1996. Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean was also popular with those students who scored high on the psychopathy scale. On the low end were Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing, the much-covered country tune Wayward Wind and The Knack’s 1979 pop-rock hit, My Sharona.

Read more at The Washington Post.

source: washingtonpost.com

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23 Responses

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  • Dana on

    I get it, listening to Bieber, and Eminem, turn me into a psychopath as well. 😉

    Actually, I am sure the first inclination, for most people, would be to say hard rock/heavy metal. So, I was happy to see a study prove the contrary.


    • Doug R. on

      Well I guess I’m safe, because I don’t listen to bad bubble gum like Justin Beaver, or a candy-ass rapper like m&m, or whatever the hell his name is! (Don’t care!) Anyway, I’m on my way to see Sammy & The Circle, cheers!


    • Rattlehead on

      I guess that garbage known as “gangsta rap” didn’t win out cuz it isn’t considered “music”?????

      I agree, Dana. Hard rock/metal is an easy target for blame for anything negative. AC/DC was blamed by the media for the violent crimes committed in Los Angeles by the Night Stalker. Judas Priest was blamed, and tried in court, for the suicidal death of a fan. Ozzy has also been blamed for suicides. And though i don’t like and am not defending Marilyn Manson, he was blamed for the Columbine tragedy.


    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Thanks for posting this Dana!
      My reading of this is that a psychopath is obsessed with fitting into the mainstream so he – or she – can manipulate, so musical choices are just another means to that end.
      Some metal and punk have violent expression, but because it’s so blatant and in your face, it has no mainstream appeal.
      However, I also think there are some exceptions, such as the leaders of the early 90s Black Metal movement in Norway. I think one or two of them were psychopaths, but they were also very open about their intentions and actively limited their appeal to those they could control.


    • Dana on

      Tyger,

      You are most welcome. I took many psychology classes in college, and I am sorry, I never majored in it (I did get my minor in Sociology). I find it a fascinating subject, understanding what makes people “tick,” especially those with pyschopathic, or sociopathic, tendencies.

      I think your assessment about “blending in,” has validity. But the lyrics to the songs chosen, may also have to do with narcissism, which both psychopaths, and sociopaths, exhibit.

      While I know metal gets a bad name, most of time we are, ironically, gentle souls. However, unfortunately, we do have a few rotten apples, namely Dave Holland, and those in the 90’s Black Metal movement in Norway (as you so asuteltly mentioned).

      D


    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Dana, if you haven’t already, you may really find instructive two great books: Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton E. Samenow and Mindhunter by John Douglas (I don’t watch Netflix, so I have no opinion on the series that’s based on his book).
      Those two books really illustrate how from the time they are kids, manipulative people truly enjoy moving people around “like pawns in chess”, to quote Sabbath.


    • Dana on

      Thanks, Tyger,

      I will check those out!

      D


  • shannon mehaffey on

    But then you have that whole block of Slayer fans…..


    • Rattlehead on

      Shannon, I think Slayer fans just have a lot of passion for the band. I love Slayer’s music, the imagery, the gimmick, the aggression, the song meanings, etc…..all things that most would conclude deserves Slayer the #1 spot on this “psychopath” list. I don’t think any live performance can generate the aggressive energy that a Slayer concert can generate. Slayer is my therapy for long, difficult days doing the accounting thing at the office. Slayer has my most favorite catalog of music from all the “Big 4” due to its consistency. Slayer’s song “Hell Awaits” is my ringtone on my cell! But I ain’t no “psychopath”, just a crazed fan of their music who doesn’t have “Slayer” carved into my forearm! :o)


    • shannon mehaffey on

      Rattlehead, just this week, this week! while I was at Hollywood Undead, w/Butcher Babies and Stoney Point as support…a Slayer fan wanted to fight me..for real! because I told him Slayer sold out on one of their records. (Diablo Musicola) ..at Chicago Open Air this summer…..if they saw you chilling out and enjoying yourself…would get in your face “Slaayer! Slaayer! Slaayer!” ….then there was that Priest show in ’88 with Slayer as support where those mice booed Priest! Those are the stupidest, most ignorant bunch of fans ever…Even though I agree with your assessment pretty much…saw them live a few times…very powerful live…they didn’t touch Priest though 🙂 Can’t listen to them anymore because I just grew out of it Rattlehead, the only thrash I like now is Metallica…and some Anthrax…Megadeth- I listen to now and wonder what I ever heard in them…much of it is incoherent to me now (compare with Yngwie, who knows composition). But when I was 19? Dark Angel was way high on my list with all the others…I read you getting on Manson, but Christ Illusion is so much worse…what total jackasses…..but I am glad you find them useful Rattlehead.


    • Rattlehead on

      Shannon, sorry to learn about some knucklehead trying to pick a fight with you just because you expressed your opinion about something. Stupid people do stupid things, regardless of what music they prefer. When i was in high school, some idiot wanted to fight me because i thought Aerosmith was better than Led Zeppelin!… another example of stupid people doing stupid things….

      Dark Angel! Love it! Gene Hoglan is a monster drummer!

      By the way, how was Butcher Babies?


    • shannon mehaffey on

      Rattlehead, I hear ya…but this was an adult! And he was the one who started in on how much Metallica sold out (what he was saying was way worse, about Metallica, Korn, about liberals, but then…he wouldn’t put down Rob Halford…and for this guy to respect Rob, with his views and all…that surprised me.)

      Butcher Babies were fantastic, had seen them five years previous and they were pretty average, aside from seeing two young sexy front-women fronting a metal band, you wouldn’t give them much of a second look. Now, they transformed into a formidable metal act who could hold their own with anybody. You have real chemistry and real personas up front, a much improved guitar player…they put on a very entertaining show. Hollywood Undead was disappointing because they sounded like they spend all day listening to Faith No More records. The first act, Stoney Point were a DJ with a laptop and a hip hop guy…I hear Doug R. yelling, but, it was cool….you have to hand it to those rap guys; they have no band driving them, so they have to carry the whole freaking load themselves…provided they have talent of course.


    • Doug R. on

      No singing, no instruments, no talent, hand it to them for what?? The only load they carry is a load of c-rap!


    • Rattlehead on

      Right on, Shannon! I’m gonna have to check Butcher Babies out! I’ve heard a little of their music, and it sounds good, but it’s hard for me to listen to that vocal style coming from the two women who front the band.

      Dang, I need to go to a good rock show soon. I haven’t been to a concert since June 2017, when Tesla/Poison/Leppard came to town…


    • shannon mehaffey on

      Rattlehead, I only listen to the newer bands when I”m in my car with Sirius or if I’m going to a show…I did get the Butcher Babies CD for my girlfriend…. I like seeing younger, newer bands because they are trying to prove something…and sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s great; hopefully it’s both. Unlike the 90s, now, young bands put in so much time to learn their instruments, learn songwriting..the ability is really impressive now. They are going to save rock and roll and metal, not some cover band or some “classic” rock band playing in a club somewhere to tourists who are paying for the “authentic rock experience.”

      Doug R., look bro, I was at the show, expecting Stoney Point to be some hippie rock thing…and this guy named Demirck came out with some other guy with a laptop and he has talent, and it impressed me that he had to carry the whole thing pretty much….I appreciate your skepticism but it either works or it does no work, you don’t put conditions on ….oh never mind…96 freaking beers on the wall…:)


    • Doug R. on

      Whatever you say, bro. 95 bottles of beer on the wall… I know it’s early, but “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere!” 😉 Cheers!


    • Rattlehead on

      I get ya, Shannon. I also hear newer rock/metal bands from Sirius Radio and I can’t say i hear much that interests me. “Newer” bands i like are Hatchet, Holy Grail, Evile, Amon Amarth, Airbourne…but my favorite newer band is Ghost! Yeah, they just don’t make music/bands today like the way they used to back in the day… :o)

      And, Tyger, I agree with your assessment of the Norwegian black metal bands. I forgot (or tried to forget) about those crazy bands, who brand themselves with those ugly band name logos nobody can read. Some of those bands inspired burning churches, killings, and cannibalism. Crazy stuff!!


  • craig on

    This is a very creepy article if not the creepiest yet! Can we go back to imagining that Steel Panther is a great band and making fun of Peter Criss? haha


    • Dana on

      I agree, Justin Bieber is creepy 😉

      This also reminds me of American Psycho, his character was a fan of Huey Lewis and the News. LOL!


    • Doug R. on

      Oh no, not Huey too! Maybe I’m not safe, as I too am a big fan of Huey Lewis & the News! As well as “Money For Nothing”/Dire Straits and “My Sharona”/The Knack. Uh-oh, we may have “Trouble In Paradise,” ’cause sometimes “Bad Is Bad,” especially when you’re “Walking On A Thin Line!” Is it still “Hip To Be Square” in 2017? Do I need to get “Back In Time?” Oh sh-t, I’m freaking out, maybe I’m a psychopath too? I hope someone can help me feel “The Power Of Love!” 😉 LOL!!! Thanks for posting this article, Dana, “You Crack Me Up!” 😉


    • Dana on

      Doug R.,

      The article states Money For Nothing, and My Sharona, were chosen by those without Pyschopathic tendencies.

      Also, Huey Lewis and the News were featured in, American Psycho, which was fictitious. So, I think you are safe, my friend. 😉

      D 🙂


    • Doug R. on

      Oh, whew! I thought they were on the low end, damn my speed reading! I think I just need a “Couple Days Off.” 😉


  • elliot iceter on

    if the music has no depth or passion then people with those same attributes will be attracted to it.


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