Cognitive Daily

A couple weeks back we discussed a study examining stereotypes about music fans and how they related to actual fans’ real preferences. Unfortunately, the researchers couldn’t test one of the most intriguing stereotypes about music fans: the types of drugs and alcohol preferred by fans of particular genres.

So while we know the stereotype of rock fans is that they prefer beer and marijuana to wine and cocktails, the Rentfrow and Gosling study can’t tell us whether the stereotype is true. Today’s study addresses that limitation.

We’re also addressing (in a limited way) the complaint that the genres Rentfrow and Gosling studied are too restrictive — we’re allowing respondents to type in their most and least favorite subgenres of their favorite musical genre. I’m not sure how much we’ll be able to do with this information in data analysis, but we’re willing to give it a shot.

Obviously this study does have a few privacy concerns, since some of the drugs we’re asking about are illegal in most of the world. Our survey software does collect user IP addresses, which can give some information about where responses are coming from, and might be linked to an individual (for example, if you comment here using your real name). We’ll delete that data as soon as we’re done collecting it, but if you’re concerned about privacy, you may not want to respond to this survey. Obviously that means our results won’t be ideal, but hey, this is a casual study, remember? If you still want to give it a shot, then

Click here to participate.

As usual, the survey is short, with just 6 questions (although two of them require 14 separate responses). It should take just a couple minutes to complete. You have until Thursday, March 13 to respond. Don’t forget to come back next Friday for the results!


  1. #1 lily queen
    March 7, 2008

    I assumed by “rap” you mean “hip-hop, including rap”–I can’t stand rap, but some hip-hop is OK.

  2. #2 metalhead
    March 7, 2008

    I like metal but I can’t drink beer. I just realized this is going to really skew your results. Sorry!

  3. #3 Kalieris
    March 7, 2008

    I don’t totally agree with your genre/subgenre breakdown. It’s hard to standardize that sort of thing, I think.

  4. #4 Kalieris
    March 7, 2008

    @lily queen: Agreed – and where does “trip hop” go – rap or electronica? Poor unclassifiable Massive Attack… 😉

  5. #5 jomega
    March 7, 2008

    I’ll put in my two cents’ worth and agree with Kalieris- your genre breakdown seems seems somewhat off to me as well.
    F’rinstance, since when is Metal not a subgenre of rock?

  6. #6 joewanderlust
    March 8, 2008

    This will only confirm what we already know, if you listen to a lot of Pink Floyd you probably like to smoke weed.

  7. #7 j
    March 9, 2008

    what about the hard stuff? “Cocktails” hardly qualify as the drink of choice for your red dirt or outlaw country fan. Whiskey neat please!

  8. #8 Anonymous
    March 10, 2008

    Whoa, some categories missing like world music and punk!?! Also, my drug choice was skewed because there was no option for “use” versus “have used”, for those of us now sober…..

  9. #9 Dave Munger
    March 10, 2008

    I agree, the categories aren’t ideal. They were chosen so we can match the original study (and Rentfrow and Gosling also acknowledge the categories aren’t ideal, but it’s very difficult to come up with a consensus).

    Anonymous, I thought about adding a ‘have used’ versus ‘use’ distinction, but again that wouldn’t have matched Rentfrow and Gosling.

  10. #10 magetoo
    March 10, 2008

    I agree with #7. What’s the use of matching categories with a study that couldn’t even see the correlation between rockers and the bottle of Jack Daniels in their back pocket?

    (Or do I mean “Metal”? Who knows.)

  11. #11 Anonymous
    March 10, 2008

    Another thought- why have the “prescription drugs” AND “downers” category? Has anyone here seen non-opiate downers that weren’t diverted pharmaceuticals? And why “heroin” instead of “opiates”?

  12. #12 Jim1
    March 11, 2008

    This seems more like anthropology than anything to do with cognitive science. Beer is popular because it is inexpensive, comes in its own container, and its alcohol level is low enough to consume several before the level of inebriation becomes undesirable. Marijuana is popular because it is both inexpensive and non-intensive. Marijuana enhances the listening experience of any type of music one happens to listen too. In fact, I’ve personally found that I am much more willing to listen to any type of music when I’m high, and that I seem to have a greater capacity to understand the particular language of that music(if one is unfamiliar with a genre of music, it makes understanding and appreciating that music difficult, as each genre is designed to reproduce certain emotions in the listener, via sounds and structure. Marijuana provides a shortcut to this understanding).

    Anyway, I think you are a little off trying to come at this idea from this direction. I don’t think that this poll is going to help you come up with anything substantial.

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