Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patriotic Music May Close Minds, Children's Music May Open Them

Date:
June 25, 2009
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
The words to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" tell a simple story about an arachnid and a spout, but simply recalling the lines could initiate an unintentional attitude. That's the focus of new research into the behaviors elicited from the musical lyrics of common songs.

The words to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" tell a simple story about an arachnid and a spout, but simply recalling the lines could initiate an unintentional attitude.

Related Articles


That's the focus of research by Kansas State University's Eduardo Alvarado, sophomore in pre-law, who is looking at the behaviors elicited from the musical lyrics of common songs.

Alvarado is working with Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychology at K-State to study the effects priming can have on behavior by looking at the positive and negative responses stimulated from music lyrics from a variety of song categories, including patriotic and Christmas songs. Priming, he said, 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 behavior; if someone witnesses violent behavior, they would likely behave more violently.

"One of the key implications is that behaviors 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."

Alvarado said the researchers wanted to see if certain musical lyrics activated a pro-social response, which is a positive feeling like empathy, or an anti-social response, which is a negative feeling like aggression. Study participants had to complete a survey and do a lyrics exercise. For the lyrics exercise, participants had to fill in missing lyrics for different songs.

The songs involved in the study were patriotic songs, such as "The Star-Spangled Banner"; secular Christmas songs, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"; religious Christmas songs, such as "O Holy Night"; and neutral songs, such as "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

Participants filled out a survey that asked questions about their religion and their attitudes toward other cultures and diversity. Half of the participants were asked to complete the survey before the lyric exercise, and the other half completed the survey after the exercise.

Alvarado said the researchers assume people act similarly to primes, and they looked overall at the surveys to see if there was a change in the responses before and after completing the lyrics exercise. They wanted to see if the songs created a pro-social or an anti-social response. He said the preliminary findings 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," Alvarado said. "They didn't put themselves in other people's perspective."

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. "We found it made people more accepting and more empathetic. The reason for this we think is because we used to listen to these songs when we were little and they kind of activate childhood happiness."

Saucier said follow-up research will focus on using stronger and more salient primes to influence pro-social and anti-social behavior. Jessica McManus, graduate student in psychology, has been collaborating on the project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Patriotic Music May Close Minds, Children's Music May Open Them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625115237.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2009, June 25). Patriotic Music May Close Minds, Children's Music May Open Them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625115237.htm
Kansas State University. "Patriotic Music May Close Minds, Children's Music May Open Them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625115237.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins