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A Study Using Facebook Likes Suggests Music Nerds Are Nervous Wrecks

A 2015 study, unearthed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica story, tells us what to expect from fans of Björk, Marilyn Manson, and, uh... Nightwish.

by Phil Witmer
23 March 2018, 10:05am

R: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Humanity has spend a good portion of this week scared shitless once again by facts we already knew; that the personal data we share so carelessly on Facebook has been and is currently being used to sway elections, along with other insidious shit. That being said, for every dystopian element of our hellscape present, there's a hilarious silver lining to be found. Case in point is a 2015 study that the New York Times has uncovered as part of their ongoing investigation on Cambridge Analytica, the consulting firm that was recently revealed to be part of Steve Bannon's apparent plot to place Trump in office. The study, done by Stanford University and the Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge, uses liked Facebook pages from a pool of 70,000 to determine the psychological profiles of individual people through the MyPersonality quiz. Hellscape: random analysts can gauge what you're like as a person from your faves. Counterpoint: we finally have proof that music nerds and more "discerning" music fans are likely to be bad people.

The Stanford/Cambridge study splits Facebook users up by personality type, with each type correlating to a group of liked pages typically associated with that temperament. So, the "most neurotic" people tend to enjoy The Smiths, Placebo, and Marilyn Manson. By contrast, the "least neurotic" don't seem to care about musicians at all and primarily like ESPN, the Miami Heat, and other sports-related pages. They're truly the most enlightened among us here. Those in the "least agreeable" column also like Manson and Placebo, as well as Rammstein and Judas Priest. The "most agreeable" people have the love of Jesus in their hearts, apparently, as pages they like include "The Bible" and "God" (incidentally, there are several Facebook pages with that name, most of them comedic), along with Christian rock bands like Relient K and Casting Crowns.

There are several other strong reads, such as more introverted people enjoying Nightwish, anime & manga, and video games (same). Bizarrely, the biggest L is taken by metalcore stalwarts Bring Me the Horizon and Escape the Fate, whose fans are lumped into both "most neurotic" and "least conscientious." I don't know exactly what the latter means but it's probably not a good thing.

What can we take away from this incredibly small sample size, determined by the takers of an arbitrary quiz? Well, there definitely seem to be certain negative stereotypes about metal and other heavy music fans being confirmed here; that they're miserable, anxiety-riddled shut-ins who can't interact with other humans. Also, that Smiths fans are nervous wrecks. These are likely not true for the most part. Besides, there is some hope for the Serious Music Fan: likers of Björk and Tom Waits count among the "most open," while fans of UK pop star Cheryl Cole and country stars Jason Aldean and Luke Bryant are the "least open," according to the study. There are exceptions to everything, looks like. Read more about the Stanford/Cambridge study here.

Phil is on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.