In a new study conducted by New York University psychology professor Pascal Wallisch and recent graduate Nicole Leal, it was found that there is a certain type of music that correlates with psychopathy, a personality disorder defined by The Washington Post as “characterized by manipulativeness and a lack of empathy.” For their study, Wallisch and Leal gave 190 NYU psychology students questionnaires containing statements like “For me what’s right is whatever I can get away with” and “Love is overrated.”
After the completion of the survey, the students were then played a series of songs of varying genres, from classical to Billboard 100, and were asked to rate them on a scale from one to seven. It was with these results that Wallisch and Leal looked for correlations between students’ song preferences and their scores on the psychopathy test, identifying about twenty songs that were either especially popular or unpopular for students with the disorder.
As it would turn out, songs like Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean,” Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” showed the highest correlation. On the other end of the spectrum were Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” an oft-covered country song “Wayward Wind,” and (surprisingly) The Knack’s “My Sharona.”
As of now, Wallisch and Leal have yet to find any pattern to explain why certain songs are more popular among the psychopathic, but the revelations are interesting nonetheless.