Category Archives: Music

Speeding Minds, Racy Thoughts.

Imagine that you’re procrastinating on the Internet, and you decide to watch a music video. Eventually you settle on LMFAO’s hit song, “Sexy And I Know It.” It’s an upbeat song, with a fast beat, fun lyrics, and a tune that makes it easy to dance along. Will watching this video change how you think and behave?


Warning: Video May Not Be Appropriate For Minors

Everyone loves to talk about the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lyrics (or rap, as the case may be). But what if the lyrics aren’t the riskiest thing about those songs?

What if it’s the beat?
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“Anything but country”: What factor analysis reveals about our tastes for tunes [at Scientific American]

When asked to indicate their favorite type of music, plenty of people say they like “anything but country.” Is this really accurate? Why do rock music fans also tend to like punk and heavy metal? And why on earth would Pandora play a Britney Spears song on a Lil’ Wayne station?

I have a post over on the Scientific American guest blog today about musical preferences that answers all of these questions. Here’s a quick blurb from the beginning of the post:

There’s a strong appeal to the idea that we can study and categorize music preferences, and that these categorizations are somehow deeply unique and meaningfully representative of who we are as individuals. But what if I told you that when it boils down to it, we’re not all that different from each other – in fact, most of those seemingly “nuanced” differences in musical taste can be boiled down to a mere five musical factors?

In the rest of the post, I discuss the findings of the study, what it means for websites like Pandora, and how we can better predict our musical likes and dislikes. I also attempt to write a “general audience”-friendly explanation of how to interpret a factor analysis, step by step.
Click here to go read the entire post!


Rentfrow PJ, Goldberg LR, & Levitin DJ (2011). The structure of musical preferences: a five-factor model. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100 (6), 1139-57 PMID: 21299309

Who runs the world? Not girls.

This week, pop superstar Beyonce launched the music video for her newest single: Run The World (Girls).


The song itself practically screams Female Empowerment Anthem with its repeating chorus of “Who runs the world? Girls!

Empowering? Absolutely! Fun song to add to your workout playlist? Definitely!

But the message isn’t exactly accurate – and this poses a problem.

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