Washington June 28 (ANI): Can music really make us close-minded and prejudiced? Yes, at least that's what Kansas State researchers claim.
A study of the behaviours elicited from the musical lyrics of common songs has revealed that listening to patriotic songs may make us close-minded and prejudiced while children's songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" may stimulate a pro-social response.
Eduardo Alvarado along with Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychology at K-State, examined the effects priming can have on behaviour by looking at the positive responses like empathy, or an anti-social response, which is a negative feeling like aggression stimulated from music lyrics from a variety of song categories, including patriotic and Christmas songs.
Priming is when someone is exposed to a certain environment and their subconscious is activated, and then they tend to act in accordance with that environment without deliberate intent.
Priming can manipulate behaviour; if someone witnesses violent behavior, they would likely behave more violently.
"One of the key implications is that behaviours may be malleable in the sense that many individuals have the capacity for similar reactions in social situations," Saucier said.
"Relatively small-scale primes may activate certain reactions, and these may be pro-social or anti-social depending on the context," he added.
Alvarado said that the preliminary findings of the showed that the patriotic songs had a negative effect on the participants, as shown through their responses to the survey's questions about other cultures and diversity.
The patriotic songs made the participants close-minded and prejudiced.
"Once they were in a patriotic point of view, they were less empathetic. They didn't put themselves in other people's perspective," said Alvarado.
Though songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" were meant to be neutral primes, the researchers found that they stimulated a pro-social response.
"You wouldn't think that those songs were going to put people in a certain mind frame, but they do activate a certain attitude," Alvarado said. (ANI)