Posted on October 25, 2019

Liking Classical Music: Is It a Racial or an IQ Thing?

Inductivist, September 14, 2019


What predicts best a fondness for classical music: race or intelligence?

The General Social Survey (GSS) asked people how much they like classical music with answer-choices ranging from “like very much” to “dislike very much.” With race and IQ as predictors, I used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to generate estimates. Here are the standardized coefficients (sample size = 916):

Standardized OLS coefficients

IQ – 0.31***
Black – 0.02
Other non-whites- 0.02
***p < .001

The only predictor that matters is IQ: smart people are much more likely to enjoy classical music than dull ones. Blacks tend to not like this type of music (results not shown here), but once you adjust for IQ, the race effect disappears. In other words, the reason why fewer blacks are classic music fans is completely due to lower intelligence. Other races do not differ from whites (results not shown), even before you adjust for IQ.

So, taste in music is more an IQ than a race thing. This might be true of many preferences among Americans.