Author(s): Ballard ME, Dodson AR, Bazzini DG
This study was designed to examine whether people's expectations differ regarding how music lyrics affect individual behavior as a function of music genre. Because legislative attention and media publicity have been biased against certain types of popular music (i.e., heavy metal and rap), the authors expected that those genres of music would be viewed more negatively than other genres of popular music, for which there has been little or no negative publicity (i.e., pop and country). Participants (N = 160 college students) rated their perceptions of how the lyrical content of a song would affect listeners' behavior. The authors presented prosocial or antisocial lyrical passages to students (N = 160) under the guise of four musical genres (heavy metal, rap, pop, and country). Participants rated the potential impact of the lyrics on listeners' behavior. Findings indicated that lyrics labeled as heavy metal or rap were perceived as less likely to inspire prosocial behavior but not more likely to inspire antisocial behavior than the same lyrics labeled as country or pop.
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