From the ceaseless cycle of cable news to the incessant activity of Instagram, the American public hardly lacks for pictures of the rich and famous. But in a culture driven by images, how well can most folks actually put names to faces when shown pictures of music celebrities in the USA?
Indeed, various segments of society may differ in their abilities to recognize powerful people: Are middle-aged folks better at identifying Joe Biden than Justin Bieber? If so, could the opposite be true for millennials?
These questions proved too intriguing to leave unanswered. In a study by Signs.com, 500 people were asked to identify images of famous individuals from the music industry. The results revealed which celebrities were most recognizable overall, and which luminaries were most likely to be misidentified. The findings also revealed hilariously common mixups and embarrassing deficits in awareness. To find out which celebrity faces Americans can recognize most readily, keep reading.
More than a decade after the release of her debut album, Taylor Swift’s penchant for reinvention has made her an enduring presence in the charts and the most recognized musician in our data. In a fateful irony, the only artist to rival her visibility was Kanye West; the two have gone from feuding to friendly and back again since Ye infamously interrupted her MTV Video Music Award acceptance speech in 2009. Interestingly, the career of third-ranked Justin Bieber may represent a strange combination of Taylor and Kanye’s experiences in the public eye. Like Swift, his stardom began in his teenage years, and like West, he’s repeatedly met with problems in the public eye.
Other hip-hop artists did not fare as well as Kanye in terms of recognition. More than 6 in 10 people could identify Drake, but many also mistook him for Lonzo Ball, a comparison the NBA player apparently encounters pretty often. Kendrick Lamar was identified correctly somewhat infrequently, but Democrats were significantly more likely to name him accurately (after all, he does have a special connection with President Obama). Logic had even lower rates of recognition, though women were better able to identify him than men.