Music has been around for centuries and centuries. We have heard that different types of music can be helpful and harmful. There are so many genres of music out there and it continues to grow. This research will look at studies done on music and how it effects and influences us and the Human Behavior. The Effect music has on the brain There have been many studies done on music and how or if it affects your brain, whether positively or negatively.
There is no direct answer to this but we will take a look at why that is and the variety of reasons. years ago, when I became pregnant I tried something that is fairly common amongst new moms that I had heard about. I put on classical music and placed earphones on my belly. Like most moms I did not research the benefits or if what the rumors said were true. The idea behind this method was “If you play music while you’re pregnant so the baby can hear it, your baby will be smart”. Janet DiPietro a psychologist for the University of California at Irvine says “There are no studies done on the effects of stimulation before birth on intelligence, creativity, or later development”.
However a study has been done on older children in who have had music lessons. Scientists at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, whose research was published in the journal Nature in 1998, say kids who have at least six years of music lessons before the age of 12 learn more words than those who go without. (Robledo). The Psychology of Music “Studies indicate that music can have profound physical and psychological effects not only on people but also on animals and plants”. (Copley, 2008 sec. 1). In 1997 a high school student by the name of David Merrill conducted a study for his school science project using mice, a maze, and music.
There were two types of music used for this study the first being classical music, the second being hard rock. David wanted to see how music would affect the ability to learn new things. David let each mouse run through the maze and timed them using a stop watch to record their initial running times. On average the mice needed a good 10 minutes to find their way through the maze. He separated the mice into groups; the first group of mice was exposed to music of Mozart for ten hours every day for three weeks.
The second group of mice listened to the heavy metal music from the group Anthrax for ten minutes as well. The volume was set at seventy decibels, which is about the same level as a vacuum cleaner or a television set from one meter away. The last group of 24 mice served as a control group and was not exposed to any music. What happened was extremely shocking. At the end of each week, David let all the mice run through the maze three times in a row while timing them. Group 3 of the non-musical mice only needed half the time. They completed the maze in five minutes.
The Mozart mice completed the maze in one in a half minute!! The Hard Rock Mice stumbled around as if they were drunk, bumping into walls and took a whopping THIRTY minutes to complete the maze. What is even more interesting was this experiment ha to be done twice because the Hard Rock mice in the first experiment showed aggressive behavior and ended up killing each other off. A similar study has been conducted using plants as well. A scientist by the name of Dorothy Retallak conducted a study on plants and the effects different genres of music has on them.
She used a group of petunias and separated them into two groups. The first group had a speaker on one side playing classical music for 3 hours of the day, the second group played rock for 3 hours of the day. She found that the petunias that listened to rock music refused to flourish and the petunias who listened to classical music developed beautifully. But that’s not all. In the second week of the experiment the petunias exposed to classical music leaned towards the speaker where the classical music was playing, and the Rocker Petunias did the exact opposite.
They actually leaned away from the music and grew unevenly. Within the month the rocker petunias died. We’ve read about the effects that different music can have on animals and plants… but what about the smartest creatures on the planet, I’m referring to you and me, Humans. Music Lyrics Influence on Human Behavior When I was younger I would hear about the older generation talk about “our music” today and how it has changed. They frowned upon the lyrics and the fast rapping, saggy pant wearing rappers. As a follower of hip hop I felt, they just didn’t understand.
It’s not about the lyrics or what they’re saying, I defended; I just like the beat to dance to. But for some reason when I listened to R&B like Jodeci, Aaliyah, R. Kelly, etc. , I knew it word for word and wanted to find what they were singing about, “Your love is one in a million” (Aaliyah, 1996). Personally when I’m having a horrible day I would put on music to make me feel better, something uplifting like gospel, or R&B. But when I go out to have a good time and I know I’m about to dance I put on something a little more fast paced and up tempo such as hip hop and rap to get me ready for a night out on the town.
The Association for Psychology Science (APS) says that intelligence boys between the ages of 6-15 who took music lessons scored higher on tests of verbal memory than a control group of students without musical training. Also Music is used as a therapy particularly with children who are diagnosed with autism. These children have a hard time interacting with peers and teachers and become annoyed very easily in noisy and changeable environments. Studies show that children with Autism respond very well to music therapy, it helps keep them calm when under duress and helps these individuals socialize effectively.
Music Therapy uses musical interaction to help individuals with their cognitive and emotional challenges to improve their ability to function. By interacting with adults and children on the autism spectrum, musical therapists can build skills, lower anxiety, and even develop new communication skills. (Rudy, 2012) I grew up in hip hop and rap and can sing every word to any rap song that comes out on the radio lyric by lyric. But has it had an effect on me? I have been guilty of referring to myself as a “bad Bitch” which is defined as a hip hop term referring to “a self-respected, strong female who has everything together.
That consists of body, mind, finances, and swagger. Also, a female who does & gets hers by any means necessary”. And this is something I picked up from the hip hop generation in 2012. But if I picked this up as an adult what are younger more influential children picking up from this type of music that music that they may hear their older siblings or parents listening to? As a young female hearing the words you may not understand them at the time but once you have a song stuck in your head repetitively you begin to break down some of the phrases.
I listen to Lil Wayne who has some of the catchiest beats and punch lines in hip hop. But I don’t hear the clever analogies until the third or fourth time I hear the song. Violent Music Lyrics “We’re not against Rap, We’re not against rappers, but we are against those thugs” – (Lyrics to Bone Thugs and Harmony 1994 hit single Thuggish Ruggish Bone). American Psychological Association reports – “Violent music lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and feelings”. Aggressive thoughts can influence perceptions of ongoing social interactions, coloring them with an aggressive tint.
Such aggression-biased interpretations can, in turn, instigate a more aggressive response -verbal or physical – than would have been emitted in a nonbiased state, thus provoking an aggressive escalatory spiral of antisocial exchanges. (Anderson, 2003, sec. 5) New hugely popular 17 year old Rapper Chief Keef from Chicago, Illinois raps about Guns, Killing, Gangs and violence. He has a criminal record, is currently on probation for a gun charge and has a huge following in his hometown. The violence rate in Chicago also happens to be the highest it’s ever been.
In the first 127 days of 2012, 169 people were murdered in Chicago. “In Chicago, more than 530 people under the age of 21 have been killed since 2008 and many more have been shot or have otherwise suffered violence—often at the hands of their peers and particularly in the city’s African-American and Latino communities. Nearly 80 percent of youth homicides occurred in 22 black or Latino communities on the city’s South, Southwest and West sides—even though just one-third of the city’s population resided in those communities.
The rate of youth homicide in West Englewood on the city’s South Side, for instance, was nearly five times higher than the citywide mark” (The Chicago Tribune reports). You cannot look at these facts and simply think it is a coincidence, if you do so I believe you may be deeply in denial. What I call the 90’s and Millennium babies, aren’t like the 80’s babies of my generation where we could listen to music as feel good music. In this later youth society I feel they cannot differentiate entertainment and real life. They want to live out what they hear and see on music videos and hear on the radio.
In Chicago that life is shooting and killing your enemies, keeping it real with a non- remorseful attitude, and welcoming street life. The audience of the music from chief keef ranges from as young as 14 – 21 years of age. The questions of “where are their parents” always comes up in situations like this, and rightfully so. But that is a whole different article. In conclusion Music can be helpful, therapeutic, sensual and downright good for the soul. But there has and always will be music that reflects what we perceive as violent and or negative. Music is Just like food, what we put into our bodies is what we get out of it.
If all you put into your body is poison, you then become poisoned. Vice Versa if you nurture and take of your body with positive nutrients you flourish like the flowers on classical music. You can drink here and there but when you become an alcoholic the damage can be fatal. Mix up your selection its ok to get a little loose with the beat and the rhythm but when you become what you hear. You are what you eat. Music can have an effect on your brain. Weather positive or negative depends on your choice of music, your mental state, and how you perceive the world and the things in it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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