Violent lyrics linked to aggression
NEW YORK: Young adults may experience a surge in aggression-related thoughts and feelings after listening to music that contains violent lyrics, new study findings suggest.
Results of the experiments showed that violent songs led to more aggressive interpretations of ambiguous words and increased the relative speed with which people read aggressive versus nonaggressive words.
The study, released Sunday by the Washington, D.C.-based American Psychological Association (APA), included five experiments involving more than 500 college students. It is published in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
In the study, violent songs increased feelings of hostility. The increased hostility was not an effect of differences in musical style or a specific performing artist. Instead, the violent lyrics themselves appear to be responsible for the increase in aggressive thoughts and feelings, according to the report.
Even violent songs that were of a humorous nature increased aggressive thoughts, the study showed. The researchers believe that current findings contradict a popular notion that listening to angry, violent music actually serves as a positive catharsis for people.
“Research on potential violent song effects on aggressive behavior becomes even more important now that we have clearly demonstrated that such songs increase aggressive thoughts and feelings,” writes a team led by Dr. Craig A. Anderson of Iowa State University in Ames. —Reuters