Psychologists working in the Psychology Department of Stanford University have published a study which indicates that 85% of EDM fans between the ages of 18 and 25 have difficulties in understanding even the most basic “nuance and subtlety” compared with fans of other musical genres.
The study, which sought to understand the relationship between cognitive functioning and musical taste, recruited 1000 young people who identified themselves as EDM fans and asked the participants to undertake a series of cognitive tests as well as MRI brain mapping.
Research leader, Dr. James Hoyte, explained the process, “We wanted to increase our understanding of those sections of the brain that are responsible for aesthetic appraisal and to understand how a person’s cognitive ability affected their understanding of a work of art, or piece of music.”
“Research candidates,” Hoyte explained, “were asked to take some basic IQ tests to determine the average intelligence of the group. We then put those people through an MRI machine where they were shown images of different objects and places, or music and natural sounds which varied in their listenability and then mapping the brain based on those responses.”
“What we found was that people who identified as EDM fans were consistently of a lower average intelligence compared to their counterparts who liked other styles of dance music. The anterior insula, a part of the brain that sits within one of the deep folds of the cerebral cortex and is crucial in aesthetic appraisal, was under developed in EDM fans which led to difficulties appreciating the nuance and subtlety contained within other musical forms.”
The study also claimed that the difficulty that EDM fans have with understanding complex notions of beauty and art was not limited to music, “We can make reasonable claims that EDM fans have difficulty appreciating other forms of art. For example, if you asked an EDM fan to name a piece of art they wouldn’t say Michaelangelo’s David. They’d be more likely to just shrug listlessly and stare at you blankly until a shiny object caught their attention.”
“We also identified other areas that EDM fans have trouble with,” claimed Hoyte. “There appears to be a correlation between EDM and an inability to fully appreciate comedy. If an EDM fan were to identify their favourite comedian they’d offer Carrot Top as their favourite comedian whereas other, more intelligent music fans might say Stewart Lee, Louis CK or Doug Stanhope. If you attempted to expose them to any form of sophisticated satire they’d probably just take it at face value without making the most rudimentary of inquiries into the truthfulness of what they are absorbing.”
“They simply don’t have the higher brain function to understand more challenging forms of artistic endeavour and as a result they find the brash, unsophisticated noise of EDM most appealing because it doesn’t challenge them intellectually. They’re the kind of people who actually prefer to eat at McDonalds than at a nicer restaurant. EDM could be called the musical equivalent of McDonalds, it’s cheap and somewhat tasty but ultimately it offers little nourishment and if you were to consume it consistently it’d make you unhealthy and probably dumber.”