In 2006, Emory University scientist Gregory Berns conducted a study on peer pressure by getting a group of teenagers to listen to brief clips of then-unknown songs and rate their likability while undergoing brain scans. Years later, it turned out that "Teenage ratings of likeability had little predictive value ... but their brains were effectively tuned to commercial success ... the researchers usually could tell from the strength of brain activity alone which songs would later sell at least 20,000 copies." Berns: "The punch line is that brain responses correlated with units sold ... It is far from being a hit predictor, but it was statistically significant." This is of course an early stage of the research, but eventually we may be able to immediately tell, off scanning teenagers' brains alone, which singles are destined for greatness and which ones will be duly discarded. Finally, science is useful! [WSJ]
Most Viewed Stories
Here Are the Saturday Night Live Cast Members Returning for Season 42
Donald Glover Turns His Eye to His Hometown – and Black America – in Atlanta
35 New TV Shows to Watch This Fall
Bachelor in Paradise Recap: The Disney Princess and the Mean Girl
What Vulture's Critics Are Most Excited for This Fall
M.I.A., Pop’s Provocateur, Says Good-bye
Leslie Jones’s Personal Website Reportedly Hacked to Post Private Information and Nude Photos
What Stranger Things Is Missing From the ’80s Horror Genre
Listen to a George Carlin Bit That Was Shelved in the Wake of 9/11
Album Review: Frank Ocean’s Blonde Considers Identity, Sexuality, and the Roads Not Taken
Latest News from VultureDoug Liman Leaves Fox’s Gambit to Direct Warner Bros.’ Justice League Dark
Gambit just can't get a win.Macy Gray on Her Jazzy Cover of Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ Creative Freedom, and Why Meghan Trainor Is the ‘New Carole King’
"I’m kind of this undercover jazz singer that has written some popular songs."Questlove to Make Pandora Cool Again by Hosting a Weekly Show
Sorry, SiriusXM.Chance the Rapper Was Cursed by His Grandma, But in the Good Way
The prayer that forged a modern superhero.The Showrunner of Fear the Walking Dead Actually Can’t Deal With Gory Violence
Which helps the production, believe it or not.Leslie Jones’s Personal Website Reportedly Hacked to Post Private Information and Nude Photos
The actress has been a target of online abuse before.The Devastating First Trailer for Manchester by the Sea Will Tug at Your North Shore Heartstrings
Starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.How Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar Reflected Black Lives Matter
Music critic Greg Tate talks Prince, changing definitions of R&B, and more.Survivors Rejoice! Starz Renews Survivor’s Remorse
Congrats, LeBron!Who’s the Odds-on Favorite to Win RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season Two?
We're riding this queen until the end.
Here, a nice story to break up your summer ennui.Watch Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander Get Intimate in This Exclusive Clip
They're awfully cute together in their new movie.Pretty Little Liars Recap: The Dark Night
If wealth were measured in leather jackets, Aria would be a Rockefeller.Gareth Edwards Finally Explains Star Wars: Rogue One’s Title
“It has [all] these split, multiple meanings that made it feel like the right choice."What Vulture's Critics Are Most Excited for This Fall
Their top five picks for the season.35 Can’t-Miss Art Exhibits Opening This Fall
Oscar Murillo, Agnes Martin, Carrie Mae Weems, and more.Blood Orange Performed a Stirring Tribute to Philando Castile and Hande Kader on Conan
He performed "Augustine" and "Thank You," in memory of the three people killed.Scandinavia’s Mesmerizing Slow TV Movement Has Become So Popular It’s Now on Netflix
It's kind of hard to imagine Americans having the attention span for this.The Rings Threequel Trailer Asks the Question: What If the Original Ring Video Was Now Creepypasta?
Samara's still calling people on a landline. Classic Samara.With His New Album, Beck Is Ready to Have Some Fun
He's harnessing a freewheeling post-album-of-the-year vibe.