books that make you dumb

Booksthatmakeyoudumb is a small site by Virgil Griffith that tries to look at the relationship between favorite books of students at colleges and the average SAT score at those colleges, “cross referencing the 10 most popular books at every college, as given by Facebook, and the average SAT score.” It’s amusing and it’s fun to look at and Lolita is not where you’d think. [lisnews]

8 comments for “books that make you dumb

  1. jam
    26Jan08 at 8:01

    hmmm… do SAT scores measure anything other than ones ability to take SAT tests?

    that said, reading Ayn Rand did make me dumber, very very dumber – that part of my brain still hurts actually

  2. Kyle
    27Jan08 at 10:46

    I saw this yesterday, and looked at it for about 3 seconds before determining that in addition to being a meaningless correlation, the format looks lame.

    I also can’t figure out why the ranges for some books are so large, it seems like they should be points or uniform ranges.

  3. 28Jan08 at 11:55

    The Holy Bible and the Bible would seem to be the same title, but they have two positions in the chart.

  4. Rajesh
    30Jan08 at 7:44

    Marianaria… May be Holy Bible is the “holy” editions of the Bible with some additional chapters to improve the holiness factor. It seems to have worked.

  5. 30Jan08 at 4:22

    The first thing I notice about many of these titles is that they are standard entries on required reading lists for high school, community college and introductory literature courses at four-year colleges and universities. “The Color Purple” appears at the low end not because it makes anyone “dumb” but because it is frequently on ENG 101 or WR 121 reading lists; folks with lower SAT scores would have had a greater chance of encountering this text than, say, “Lolita.”

    I think it is sad the way this study was framed. The correlation could be informative about literature education if more rigorous research methods were deployed. Instead it simply goes toward stigmatizing the reading preferences of low scorers on standardized tests that more often than not favor students from privileged backgrounds and/or with greater access to print resources. In other words, it reinforces negative stereotypes about the poor and minorities.

  6. Meg
    31Jan08 at 4:03

    A “study”? That’s like calling what my college pals and I did involving fire crackers and papier mache “science experiments.” People are taking this waaaay too seriously.

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