A study carried out by University College London is suggesting that our musical tastes may be determined more by aesthetics than musical ability. As SupaJam reports, Chia-Jung Tsay, who administered the experiment, has issued the following statement about the findings:
"People consistently report that sound is the most important source of information in evaluating performance in music," Tsay said, "However, the findings demonstrate that people actually depend primarily on visual information when making judgments about music performance."
Tsay's study put together a group of musical novices and experts, and over a series of tests asked them to predict the winners of several prestigious competitions. Participants were asked to predict the winner using either audio-only recordings, videos without audio, or videos without sound. The correct prediction rate for those watching without sound was higher than those watching with audio. For those listening to audio only, the prediction rate was significantly worse.
"Both experts and novices appear to be surprised by their own data, and experts in particular reported a severe lack of confidence in their judgment when they were assigned to the video-only recordings, not knowing that their approximations of the actual outcomes would be superior under such constrained conditions."
In response to the research, we here at Ultimate-Guitar raise the following question: how does your hypothesis account for this man being one of the most enduring faces of rock music in the last 40 years?