Musical Taste

I’ve always wondered about the relationship between music and intelligence.

Do people who truly enjoy for artists like Mozart or Tchaikovsky on extended level, not just a few pieces, tend to possess a higher intelligence, namely IQ, than the average person?

No, but listening to country and pop kills brain cells, which causes a downward spiral in intelligence which causes one to listen to more country and pop.

ad nauseum

No. But they like to think so.

I’d guess the biggest goveror of musical tastes is cultural. You can’t learn to like something if you’re not exposed to it. There may be some relation between intelligence and musical tastes, in that more intelligent people might be more inclined to spend time trying different things and developing their tastes. Some peices take multiple listens to appreciate fully. However, bear in mind there have been some very talented talented musical savants. I don’t see any reason why there would be a direct relationship between general intelligence and musical taste, development in specific areas doesn’t always generalise.

A lot of our liking for music is instinctive, and probably comes from our facility for language. Speech has rhythm and tonality. However, it’s certainly possible to learn to appreciate a wider range of music and musical techniques. Anecdotally, my ear has improved over the years. I used to have a lot of trouble seperating out musical parts, such as two guitars playing together, which I can now do quite easily. I see no reason why developing a better ear would a affect person’s intelligence in other ways, particularly IQ (which is a pretty narrow measure of intelligence anyway).

I would agree that upbringing and culture has alot to do with it.

I feel that musical taste is a better barometer for curiosity than for raw intelligence. Some people are quite content to listen to what’s familiar and comfortable, and that’s perfectly okay.

When I was younger I studied piano. Eventually, through a chance encounter with Protopopov’s Sonata #2, I became fascinated with Russian music from that time period. Others that I met who were interested in such music were not necessarily smarter than anybody else, they were simply very curious about exploring music and passionate about the subject. Very willing to explore.

As said above, most intelligent people have or exhibit a curious nature, one of the traits of learning. People who have a more curious nature, tend to listen to a broader range of music.

Curiosity was the word I was looking for.

You’re right to point out that intelligent people do tend to be more curious. Thus, the curiosity I saw in these people could very well be a marker of higher intelligence on the average. I suppose I never really thought of it in terms of intelligence-all I saw was a mutual interest and enthusiasm.

So two people similarly exposed to both Led Zeppelin and Mozart, can we assume the individual who enjoys both types of music thoroughly to be more intelligent than the person who chooses to only listen Led Zeppelin and that genre?

I agree whole-heartedly that intelligent people tend to more curious and if effect have a finer taste in food, art, literature, movies etc. I feel it takes a certain intelligence to enjoy subtleties and details opposed to things that are blatant e.g. bubblegum music or foods like cotton candy. It is an extreme point but it illustrates my point albeit simplistic, a toddler has a simpler taste than a preteen because preteen has grown smarter among other things. Can I apply the same logic for the disparity in adult musical taste in a controlled group?

What makes you think curious people would prefer Mozart to Led Zeppelin? Why would a curious person have “a finer taste” in anything? It sounds like you’ve bought into the whole “classics = refined = rich = smart” meme that is so pervasive in culture. Next you’ll be telling us an Alabama accent is a mark of a stupid person.

I doubt it. Once you subtract the effects of culture - which would be reflected in education and exposure to the music - there would be no effect left Remember that the studies that purported to show that exposing babies to Mozart makes them smarter have been thoroughly debunked.

Wait, where is Sampiro from again? :smiley:

…sometimes I likes me macaroni and cheese, and sometimes I like something a little more sophisticated. Sometimes I likes chamber music, sometimes chorale, and sometimes Louie, Louie is just the thing for the mood at hand. So I think that trying to pin down intelligence by what music a person likes is going to be a challenge.

There might be a link between intelligence and classical music in one respect. It’s related to curiosity, but I think a more apt term would be boredom threshold. An intelligent person isn’t going to be satisfied listening to the same musical genre all the time, no matter how much he enjoys it. He will get bored and seek out anything similar to – but different than – what he already enjoys. If he’s getting bored with Mozart, he’ll try Bach or Beethoven, then Brahms or Stravinsky, etc. And yes, he may eventually get to Led Zeppelin. But given the sheer quantity of what we call “classical music,” it’ll take him quite a while, barring outside influences.

This may very well be tenuous or non-existent connection. I’m not arrogant enough to be telling anything about the subject that is why I posed the question. Regarding the example, my point was the curious person enjoyed two genres thoroughly rather than symphonic music or 70’s rock while a less intelligent who was exposed to both and chose one.

However, I would be willing to bet a lot of money that the mean average IQ of the audience from a London Symphony Orchestra concert at the Barbican Centre would be greater than the mean average IQ of the audience from an Aerosmith concert in the Meadowlands. Gun to the head, I think most people would side with me on the bet, causality or not.

I see I’ve wondered into the “Let’s Make Up Any Unsupported Theory We Feel Like” Forum.

Do any of you proposing these ideas have any cite’s:

  1. Higher intelligence=more curious
  2. Intelligent person won’t be satisfied listening to same genre
  3. Intelligent people have a finer taste in food, art, literature, movies etc.
  4. More curious people listen to a broader range of music

Cats and chimps are pretty damn curious, do they listen to a broad range of music?

No, what had been said before your post is that, if two people grow up listening exclusively to whatever their mom had on the radio, the one who’s more curious is more likely to eventually change the dial (if only because he goes “hm… wonder what this big wheel here does…”) and get exposed to a wider variety of music. That doesn’t mean he’ll stop liking what he grew up with, or that he’s going to like everything new he encounters: only that he will explore (which is pretty much the definition of curious).

I didn’t we know had to be explicit but I’m sure we are referring to intellectual curiosity.

Maybe I was a bit ambiguous. Let me make it more clear. Both teenagers never listened to classical music until they took a mandatory class in music. After the class ends, one person takes a further interest in classical music and includes it in his playlist and other person enjoys music but doesn’t care to include classical music in his playlist.

Is there some other form of curiosity?

Interesting, and may be true in humans, or maybe not.

Yes, I was aware of this, it’s fun. I’m assuming you understand the limitations of this type of calculation?

I believe this is a classic case of correlation vs. causality. Even if you take it as a given that a lot of smart people listen to classical music, that doesn’t mean that classical music makes you smart, even though it might be flattering for any classical music listener to think so.