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Monday, 02 March, 2009

Things That Make You Dumb
(with comments)

Facebook research: Books and Music That Make You Dumb.

[Virgil] Griffith used aggregated Facebook data about the favorite bands and books among students of various colleges and plotted them against the average SAT scores at those schools, creating a tongue-in-cheek statistical look at taste and intelligence.


For example, the favorite musician of the smartest students was Beethoven, with an average SAT score of 1371. Also on the "smart" end of the scale were Sufjan Stevens (1260), Counting Crows (1247), and Radiohead (1220). And sadly for Lil Wayne, enjoying his music was associated with being the dumbest, with an average SAT score of 889.


On the book front, Lolita was favorite tome of the brightest students (a result which Griffith called "charming"), with an average SAT score of 1317. The lowest-scoring students liked the erotica author Zane, with an average score of 980. And strangely, the students who listed their favorite book as "The Bible" were smarter (1047) than those who said it was "The Holy Bible" (980).

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  1. By Curtis. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @02:43pm:
    I think a song that makes you dumb is "Little Willie" by Sweet.

    Maybe that used to make you dumb.
  2. By Curtis. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @02:45pm:
    What about The Beeyebeelee?
  3. By Jason Sanchez. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @03:44pm:
    What about Microsoft Excel?
  4. By Paula. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @05:05pm:
    The ones that said "The Bible" meant the Excel Bible.
  5. By Chop Chop. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @05:52pm:
    I wonder how many people will be 'Struck Dumb' by this book:

    Blagojevich gets six-figure book deal
  6. By Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @06:23pm:
    Or should we say, dumb study?

    I had a 2-year stint as a statistics undergrad before I ditched the program and moved on to well, better things in a better department, but one of the things that struck me the most was my inferential stat prof reiterating: "Correlation is not causation" over and over again. And you do not, EVAR, accept the alternative hypothesis even if the null one is rejected by your calculations.

    So yeah, shaky variables, suspect hypothesis - ok sure maybe the calculations themselves are fun. But the analysis and the conclusions are dumb, dumb, dumb.
  7. By J-Walk. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @06:33pm:
    Griffith responded to that in the article:

    "Of course there is the whole correlation is not causation thing, but, I mean, duh."
  8. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @07:33pm:
    Yes. I think someone may have cause and effect backwards, at least.
  9. By Shel-tone. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @08:37pm:
    what about the ones the knew how is babby formed how girl get pragnent?


    (blame xycd for enlightening me to this...)
  10. By Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @09:18pm:
    Oh, I missed that. What is it kids say today? "My bad?"

    I think this study is even more fun:
    Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers

    Of course, correlation is not causation. Could mean, however, that liberals are savvy enough to get em for free, innit?
  11. By Doug Nelson. Comment posted 02-Mar-2009 @11:00pm:
    So I guess we shouldn't read anything into the data indicating the lowest-scoring students like rap and urban books?
  12. By L.. Comment posted 03-Mar-2009 @04:47am:
    Also the ones with the highest scores are probably smart enough to say "Beethoven" even though they actually like Lil' Wayne - they understand how to give the right impression to the world. Or else they are just obnoxious swats with pushy parents.....
  13. By GreenBoy. Comment posted 05-Mar-2009 @05:22am:
    so by correlation people who are smart enough to like Beethoven are also into books about the seduction of 12 year old girls... but on the other hand if you like less hignbrow music you are more likely to like good old fashioned adults only porn... or the bible.

    I hated statistics at school and this sort of thing worries the heck out of me...
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