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J Adolesc. 2005 Jun;28(3):433-40.

Brief report: Labelling effects on the perceived deleterious consequences of pop music listening.

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School of Psychology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.


Several correlational studies have supported the claim of conservative protestors that there exists a positive relationship between listening to pop music and adolescent problem behaviours. However, research on the so-called 'prestige effects' has shown that experimental participants' responses to music can be mediated by manipulations of prior information concerning that music. This study investigated whether perceptions of deleterious effects of pop songs on listeners may be attributable to prior labelling of those stimuli as 'problem music'. Eighty undergraduates were played songs that they were told were either suicide-inducing or life-affirming. Subsequent ratings of the songs indicated that those presented as 'suicide-inducing' were perceived as such, whereas presentation of the same songs in a 'life-affirming' frame led to the perception of them as such. These findings indicate that censorship and the subsequent labelling of certain songs as 'problematic' might itself cause these songs to have deleterious effects on listeners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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