Violent song lyrics may lead to violent behavior13
Violent song lyrics increase negative emotions and thoughts that can lead to aggression, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 84, No. 5).
The study challenges the ancient Greek “catharsis hypothesis” that claims that expressing aggressive emotion will later decrease aggressive behavior. Instead, researchers from Iowa State University and the Texas Department of Human Services found that aggressive music lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and feelings, which might perpetuate aggressive behavior and have long-term effects, such as influencing listeners’ perceptions of society and contributing to the development of aggressive personalities.
“This [study]provides the first clean demonstration of violent lyric effects,” says lead author Craig Anderson, PhD, of Iowa State University.
In five experiments, Anderson and his colleagues asked more than 500 college students to listen to such violent songs as “Shoot ‘Em Up” by Cypress Hill and “Hit ‘Em Hard” by Run DMC, and such nonviolent songs as “Finger Lickin’ Good” by the Beastie Boys and “Love vs. Loneliness” by the Suicidal Tendencies. Researchers also included the lyrics of humorous violent and nonviolent songs like “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash and “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh” by Allan Sherman.
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