Whether you’re a devoted music enthusiast or you just listen to the radio to pass time, we all listen to music. However, when listening to music, nobody stops to think about what they are doing. Nobody stops to contemplate how the music they are listening to affects them psychologically. We just listen to the music and enjoy ourselves. In fact however, a great deal of research has been done to determine the psychophysiological effects of music. Many studies have been conducted to determine whether music can help people who suffer from psychological and medical disorders, Scholars continually debate whether music can influence behavior, and researchers are attempting to understand what is happening in our brain when we listen to music.
When discussing the effects that listening to music can have on people we need to take into account how different genres of music may have different effects. Many people, including religious and community leaders have been warning the public about the dangers of listening to violent music such as rap and metal. They claim that when people listen to violent music it will incite violent behavior. However in my research I have found many conflicting opinions.
Some believe that violent music can cause even extremely violent behavior. In his testimony to a senate subcommittee, Raymond Kuntz, father of a teenager that committed suicide, alleged that heavy metal music was directly responsible for his son’s suicide. According to Kuntz, his son took his life while listening to a particularly violent heavy metal song (Kuntz). Similarly, in a report in the Greenhaven Press, Thomas L Jipping claims that heavy metal and rap music idealize violent behavior and could lead vulnerable young people to commit violent crimes such as rape and murder (80).
However, not everyone agrees with Kuntz and Jipping. In another article published in the Greenhaven Press, written by Becky L. Tatum, she also discusses the connection between violent music and violent behavior. She argues that research shows no relation between listening to rap and metal music and violent behavior. Tatum suggests that because rap and metal music are usually associated with specific ethnicities and cultures the criticism against it may just be racially based (339). Jipping, Kuntz, and Tatum agree that it is not ideal for young people to be listening to violent music. However, they disagree on whether violent music can actually provoke violent actions.
A great deal of research has been done to determine whether music can be used to help people improve psychological and medical disorders. In a study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers attempted to determine the effects of group music intervention on a group of psychiatric patients. After 15 sessions of music intervention, the patients showed significant improvements in depression, and anxiety, thus leading the researchers to conclude that music can help people deal with...