Find yourself bumping to Biebs’ “What Do You Mean” or spitting fire with “Lose Yourself” by Eminem? According to a recent New York University (NYU) study, you might be a psychopath.

What Do You Listen To?

NYU Psychology professor Pascal Wallisch and graduate Nicole Leal wanted to find out if certain music genres correlated with psychopathy. Wallisch explains that movies use music to establish the human side in evil characters such as Beethoven in “A Clockwork Orange” or Mozart in “The Silence of the Lambs.” In order to find out, they gave a questionnaire to more than 190 NYU students that rated their level of psychopathy. It included questions like “For me what’s right is whatever I can get away with” and “Love is overrated.”

The students then listened to songs from different genres, ranging from classical to the current hits on the Billboard 100, and rated them on a seven-point scale. Wallish and Leal studied the correlations between song preferences and the students’ score on the psychopathy scale and found around 20 songs that were deemed either popular or unpopular, depending on the student’s psychopathy level. To take their study further, the researchers had other students listen to the songs with the highest association to the psychopathy scale and rate the songs. The results? Their reactions to the songs predicted their own scores on the psychopathy scale, to some extent.

Not a Psychopath?

“Lose Yourself,” Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” and JB’s “What Do You Mean” proved to be popular with the students who scored high on the psychopathy scale. Meanwhile Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” “Wayward Wind,” and the 1979 pop rock hit “My Sharona” sat on the opposite side of the spectrum. Leal said that they have yet to find a pattern in what the songs from both ends of the spectrum have in common.

The study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but the researchers are in Washington this week to present their findings at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. Keep us updated!

Featured image from JRC-Oakland