Study: Violent music boosts aggressive thoughts

The Washington, D.C.-based American Psychological Association (APA) released the study, resulting from five experiments involving over 500 college students, in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The violent songs increased feelings of hostility without provocation or threat, according to the study. It said the effect was not the result of differences in musical style, specific performing artist or arousal properties of the songs.

Even the humorous violent songs increased aggressive thoughts, the study said.

The group said the study contradicts a popular notion that listening to angry, violent music actually serves as a positive catharsis for people.

The music industry came under criticism from lawmakers in October for failing to use more descriptive parental advisory labels that specify whether the music contains sex, violence or strong language.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has said that current CD labels give parents enough information without violating the right to free expression.

The RIAA is the trade group for the world's five big labels, including AOL Time Warner Inc., EMI Group Plc, Bertelsmann AG, Vivendi Universal's Universal Music and Sony Corp.

In response to pressure from Tipper Gore, the wife of former Vice President Al Gore, the industry agreed in 1985 to put labels on records that contain explicit sex or violence. At the time, artists said the labels were government-sponsored censorship.

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