Study shows music lyrics affect behavior

Daily Collegian (Penn State) via (U-WIRE)

University Park, Pa. – Attention show stoppers, ballers and freak-a-leeks: As you shake your moneymaker to the latest Ludacris jam, more than just a catchy tune may be seeping into your head.

A recent study conducted by Rand Corp.,”

University Park, Pa. – Attention show stoppers, ballers and freak-a-leeks: As you shake your moneymaker to the latest Ludacris jam, more than just a catchy tune may be seeping into your head.

A recent study conducted by Rand Corp., a Pittsburgh-based research organization, found that young people who listen to sexually explicit lyrics are almost twice as likely to become sexually active within two years when compared to those who do not.

"When young people are trying to figure out who they are and who they should be, a lot of them turn to the media," Steve Martino, author of the study, said. "Many times, the predominant message they get is that women are sex objects, men are relentlessly sexual, and sex is an inconsequential game."

By way of a national telephone survey, researchers at Rand interviewed 1,461 adolescents about their music preferences and current sexual behavior. Follow-up interviews were then conducted one year later and then three years later, and the results were published in the national journal, Pediatrics.

"The more people were exposed to degrading sexual imagery, the more likely they were to engage in sexual behavior at an earlier age," Martino said.

The results of the study are nothing surprising to those in the field of psychology, Maggie Thomas (graduate-psychology) said.

"Based on work that shows a link between lyrics and changing attitudes, explicit lyrics about sex could definitely have an influence on behavior," she said.

Increasing rates of sexual activity among young people can lead to serious health implications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 15.3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., according to its Website, www.cdc.gov.

"Part of the danger with early sexual initiation is that kids are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies, a greater number of partners, more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease and more likely to regret the sex they did have," Martino said.

Some students felt that one's upbringing directly relates to how they interpret carnal cues in music.

"I think that, depending on the environment someone grows up in, they may take lyrics too seriously," said junior Bobbie Zabielski. "People may only learn about sex only from the media and emulate what they see."

Others said restrictions on raunchy lyrics may fuel the desire to engage in sexual activity.

"I believe explicit language is strongly correlated to sex," Matt Meditz (sophomore-business) said. "We hear famous artists using this language, and we want to go out and do the same thing."

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