Readings, Week 3, Scientific Data

Subjects for the Week:

Cultural appropriation
The history of resistance music in Western culture
Romanticism: alive and well (in the ‘burbs…  but not in the hood)
The history of marginalization of people-of-colour in modern popular music (i.e. the history of modern popular music)
Adverse effects of videos and lyrics on children and on people of median (average) I.Q.
Product placement
Rest in peace: the decline of the ideology of hip-hop

Statistics relevant to the determination of adverse effects of videos & lyrics

1982: the National Institute of Mental Health summarized its landmark studies on behavioural effects of television on children: “they asserted that “children do learn and form attitudes from what they see on television and in videos.”  National Institute of Mental Health. (1982). Television and behavior: Ten years of scientific progress and implications for the eighties: Vol. 1. Summary report  (DHHS Publication No. ADM 82-1195). Washington , DC : U.S. Government Printing Office.

 

Elizabeth Brown and William Hendee, Journal of the American Medical Association: ‘Between the 7th and 12th grades, the average teenager listens to 10, 500 hours of rock and dance music, just slightly less than the entire number of hours spent in the classroom from kindergarten through high school.’

 

Lawrence Stone: ‘…the average teenager listens to… [popular] music for up to six hours daily…. music often has a dangerous negative theme, with lyrics advocating aggressive and hostile rebellion, abuse of drugs and alcohol, irresponsible sexuality, violence, and suicide.”  Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry’, volume five, section VII.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics: Music videos may have a significant behavioural impact by desensitizing viewers to violence and making teenagers more likely to approve of premarital sex.  75% of concept music videos contain sexually suggestive material.  56% contain violence, which includes acts committed against women.  Women are portrayed frequently in a condescending manner that affects children’s attitudes about sex roles.”   Attractive role models are the aggressors in more than 80% of music video violence (Different types of characters use violence on television. Studies show that viewers of all ages are more likely to emulate and learn from characters who are perceived as attractive. Thus, heroes and “good guys” who act violently pose more risk to the audience than do villains. Donnerstein, 2006). Males are more than three times as likely to be the aggressors; blacks were overrepresented [as aggressors] and whites underrepresented. Music videos may reinforce false stereotypes. A detailed analysis of music videos raised concerns about its effects on adolescents’ normative expectations about conflict resolution, race and male-female relationships.   Music lyrics have become increasingly explicit, particularly with references to sex, drugs and violence. …. the potential negative impact of explicit music lyrics should put parents and paediatricians on guard – paediatricians should bring this up in anticipatory guidance discussions with teenagers and their parents.  At the very least, parents should take an active role in monitoring the music their children are exposed to.    American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Communications (1996). Impact of music lyrics and music videos on children and youth (RE9144). Pediatrics:98:1219-21.

 

Educational psychologist Hannelore Wass, University of Florida : “Rock musicians and their life styles often serve as role models for young people who are troubled or confused about adult values and beliefs.” Wass concluded that 17 percent of her survey group of 700 teenagers listened to rock music that promotes destructive and self-destructive tendencies (suicide, homicide, and Satanism). Her figure more than doubles (to 40%) in a survey of juvenile delinquents and youth criminals. Apart from this, nearly 50% of those interviewed acknowledged the possibility that these types of songs could really incline an unbalanced or grief-stricken young person toward suicide. Dr. Wass concluded that these detailed interviews with young people show the need for parents to watch what their children are listening to, and to pay attention to any emerging symptoms of abnormality.Wass also found that the more negative music’s theme, the more its consumers know and believe its message  (Wass, et. al, “Adolescents’ Interest”).

Prof. Hannelore Wass recently found that 90% of young heavy metal fans know most or all of the words of their favorite songs and 60% agree often or always with those words.

Americans have been concerned about the prevalence of violence in the media and its potential harm to children and adolescents for at least 40 years. The body of research on television violence has grown tremendously since the first major Federal reports on the subject in 1972 and 1982 (National Institute of Mental Health, 1982; U.S. Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior, 1972). During this period, new media emerged—video games, cable television, music videos, and the Internet. As they gained popularity, these media, along with television, prompted public concern and research attention.   Recent surveys depict the abundance of (primarily electronic) media in U.S. homes (Roberts et al., 1999; Woodard, 1998) and the extensive presence of violence within the media landscape (Wilson et al., 1997, 1998). They also show that the proliferation of new media has expanded the opportunities for children to be exposed to media violence at home. Current psychological theory suggests that the interactive nature of many of these new media may affect children’s behavior more powerfully than passive media such as television. Research to test this assumption is not yet well developed, and accurate measurement is needed to determine how much violence children are actually exposed to through various media—and how patterns of exposure vary among American youths.   In reading this discussion of research on the impact of media violence on America ’s youth, a few major points should be kept in mind:

 

  1. First, research on the effects of media violence examines many kinds of outcomes in young people. Researchers have focused primarily on aggression, an outcome that psychologists define as any behavior, physical or verbal, that is intended to harm another person. Physical aggression may range from less serious acts, such as pushing or shoving, to more serious physical contact and fighting, to very serious violent acts that carry a significant risk of injury or death, such as assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. Some studies have focused on how media violence affects aggressive thinking, including beliefs and attitudes. Other studies have focused on the effects of media violence on aggressive emotions—that is, on emotional reactions, such as anger, that are related to aggressive behavior. In this discussion, the label “violence” is reserved for the most extreme end of the physical aggression spectrum.
  2. Second, as noted in Chapter 4, the preponderance of evidence indicates that violent behavior seldom results from a single cause; rather, multiple factors converging over time contribute to such behavior. Accordingly, the influence of the mass media, however strong or weak, is best viewed as one of the many potential factors that help to shape behavior, including violent behavior.
  3. Third, a developmental perspective is essential for understanding how media violence affects youth behavior and for framing any coherent public health response to it. Although this report focuses generally on the violent behavior of adolescents, it is critical to understand how children are influenced by and respond to media violence, especially in order to recognize and help those who are particularly susceptible to adverse effects. Most youths who are aggressive and engage in some forms of antisocial behavior do not become violent teens and adults. However, it is well established that many violent adolescents and adults were highly aggressive and even violent at younger ages, and the highly aggressive child is at increased risk of growing up to be a more aggressive young adult (Nagin & Tremblay, 1999). Because influences that promote aggressive behavior in some young children can contribute to increasingly aggressive and even violent behavior many years later, it is important to understand the early factors that may play a role in later outcomes.
  4. Fourth, a growing body of research supports theories that explain how exposure to media violence would activate aggressive behaviors or attitudes in some children. Humans begin imitating other individuals at a very early age, and young children learn many motor and social skills by observing the behavior of others (Bandura, 1977). Social interactions shape the scripts for behavior that children acquire, but observational learning is a powerful mechanism for acquiring social scripts throughout childhood (Huesmann, 1998). Most researchers agree that such observational learning is probably the major psychological process underlying the effects of media violence on aggressive behavior. This same process could explain how prosocial behavior depicted in the media might encourage positive behavior in children (Friedlander, 1993; Harold, 1986; Mares, 1996). Surgeon General , United States Government.  (Jan., 2001). Youth Violence: a Report of the Surgeon General. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence/default.htm
Does popular music affect belief systems? Maybe not… But what do children believe?  What did children believe even twenty years ago, when concept music videos began to gain tremendous popularity?  In 1988, the Rhode Island Rape Crisis Center released results from a survey conducted with 1,700 sixth to ninth grade students: “65% of the boys, and 57% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to force a woman to have sex if they have been dating for more than six months; 51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said a man has the right to force a woman to kiss him if he has spent ‘a lot of money’ on her, and that amount was defined as $10 to $15.  Nearly a quarter of the boys and a sixth of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to force a woman to have sex if he has spent a lot of money on her. Half of the students said a woman who walks alone at night and dresses seductively is asking to be raped…. of 1,035 rapes reported to the Rhode Island Rape Crisis Center in 1987, 79 percent of the victims were raped by a person known to them. Moreover, experts estimate one in four girls and one in seven boys will be sexually assaulted before they are 18 years old, generally by a relative or another trusted acquaintance.   In 1988, Michigan reported an astounding 681 juveniles convicted of sexually assaulting younger children. The average age of the victims: seven.   Almost 60 percent of the assaults involved penetration, and further, “93% of the [juvenile] offenders were acquaintances, friends, babysitters, or relatives of the victims.”   Has violence and sexuality in concept music videos increased in the last twenty years?  Most assuredly, the answer is “yes.”  (Mann, Judy. Twisted Attitudes Taint Youth’. Washington Post. May 6, 1988.D3.)

References:

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Communications. Impact of music lyrics and music videos on children and youth (RE9144). Pediatrics 1996:98:1219-21.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Brown, Elizabeth F. and William R. Hendee. (Sept 1989; 2002) “Adolescents and Their Music: insights into the health of adolescents.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 262.

Donnerstein, Edward (2006). The Violent Content of American Television: A Three Year Comparison.   http://sociomedia.ibelgique.com/donnerstein.htm

Ford-Jones, Anthony & Peter Nieman (2003). Impact of media use on children and youthPsychosocial Paediatrics Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) Paediatrics & Child Health 2003; 8(5): 301-306.  Reference No. PP 2003-01 (Formerly PP99-01)

Friedlander, B. Z. (1993). Community violence, children’s development, and mass media: In pursuit of new insights, new goals, and new strategies. Psychiatry, 56, 66-81.

Harold, S. (1986). A synthesis of 1043 effects of television on social behavior. Public Communication and Behavior, 1, 65-133.

Huesmann, L. R. (1998). The role of social information processing and cognitive schema in the acquisition and maintenance of habitual aggressive behavior. In R. G. Geen & E. Donnerstein (Eds.), Human aggression: Theories, research, and implications for social policy (pp. 73-109). New York : Academic Press.

Mares, M. L. (1996). Positive effects of television on social behavior: A meta-analysis  (Annenberg Public Policy Center Report Series, No. 3). Philadelphia : Annenberg Public Policy Center . [Also available on the World Wide Web: http://www.appcpenn.org/pubs.htm%5D

Nagin, D., & Tremblay, R. E. (1999). Trajectories of boys’ physical aggression, opposition, and hyperactivity on the path to physically violent and nonviolent juvenile delinquency. Child Development, 70, 1181-1196.

National Institute of Mental Health. (1982). Television and behavior: Ten years of scientific progress and implications for the eighties: Vol. 1. Summary report (DHHS Publication No. ADM 82-1195). Washington , DC : U.S. Government Printing Office.

Roberts, D. F., Foehr, U. G., Rideout, V. J., & Vrodie, M. (1999). Kids & media @ the new millennium. Menlo Park, CA : Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Strasburger, Victor. (1993). Children, Adolescents, and the Media: Five crucial issues. Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews–Vol. 4, No. 3: Philadelphia , Hanley & Belfus.

Stone, Lawrence (ed). (1987, 1990). Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry’, volume five. New York : Basic.

Surgeon General , United States Government.  (Jan., 2001). Youth Violence: a Report of the Surgeon General. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence/default.htm

Wass, Hannelore,  J. Raup, K. Carullo, L. Martel, L. Mingione, and A. Sperring (1988-89). “Adolescents’ Interest in and Views of Destructive Themes in Rock Music,” Omega 19, no. 3: 117–26. , B. J., Kunkel, D., Linz , D., Potter, J., Donnerstein, E., Smith, S. L., Blumenthal, E., & Gray, T. (1997). Violence in television programming overall: University of California , Santa Barbara study. In M. Seawall (Ed.), National television violence study  (Vol. 1, pp. 3-184). Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage Publications.

Wilson , B. J., Kunkel, D., Linz , D., Potter, J., Donnerstein, E., Smith, S. L., Blumenthal, E., & Gray, T. (1997). Violence in television programming overall: University of California , Santa Barbara study. In M. Seawall (Ed.), National television violence study  (Vol. 1, pp. 3-184). Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage Publications.

Woodard, E. H. (1998). Media in the home 2000: The fourth annual survey of parents and children  (Survey Series No. 7). Philadelphia , PA : The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania .