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Title: Music, aggression and vicarious release : interrogating the possibility of a relationship between music and aggressive behaviour
Authors: Camilleri, Kristen
Keywords: Aggressiveness
Music, Influence of
Music -- Psychological aspects
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: Music is considered to be one of the most engaging and emotive human experiences. It is believed that early music training can develop areas in the brain which are associated with reasoning and learning (Rauscher & Shaw, 1993). A number of studies also suggest that music influences behaviour. For example, Anderson and Bushman (2002) hold that exposure to violent song-texts and aggressive musical tones create aggressive personalities. On the other hand, such musical forms have also been associated with 'vicarious release', that is, the depletion of anger through listening or creating music (Arnett, 1991). Taking the above into account, this study aims at exploring whether there is a link between music and aggressive behaviour. It takes a look at how emotions such as anger, anxiety and angst can motivate music producers to write their own music which will ultimately promote their personal feelings. Moreover it observes how listening to different genres of music help in achieving a certain state of being. It explores the lifestyles related to these genres and how negative emotions such as anger or aggression are released through these styles of music. A qualitative research approach, employing face-to-face semi-structured interviews was used for this study. This helped to achieve valuable data from the eleven research participants who were interviewed. Some of the results achieved sustained the literature whereas others contradicted it. For example, it was revealed that participants with a preference for heavy metal (a musical form associated with aggression, anti-social behaviour and even poor academic performance as claimed by Rubin, West and Mitchell 2001) do not feel isolated from society and perceive their preferred musical genre as creating bonds of brotherhood and friendship and impacting their lives positively. On a more general level, all the research participants claimed that music has a cathartic effect in their lives and helps to express a variety of emotions, including anger (often in a controlled way) and sadness. Participants claimed to listen to music that reflects their moods and which helps them to cope with life's challenges and situations they are being confronted with.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 2013
Dissertations - FacSoWCri - 2013

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