Wallisch had originally recruited volunteers to study their taste in music. But after learning that many of those same volunteers had gone through psychological testing, he combined the results to find the song preferences of psychopaths and non-psychopaths alike.
He also added that while the previously mentioned songs were among those enjoyed by participants who scored higher on measures of psychopathy, there were other tracks with even greater predictive power.
Knowing these things comes with a price though. “The beauty of this idea is you can use it as a screening test without consent, cooperation or maybe even the knowledge of the people involved,” Wallisch said. “The ethics of this are very hairy, but so is having a psychopath as a boss, and so is having a psychopath in any position of power.”
The NYU professor’s future study will seek to learn whether this connection between music and psychopathy is real or not. And he seems to have acknowledged that having this kind of information could pose a major ethical problem down the road, along with other confounding factors such as this music being generally popular (it is pop music after all).