Five decades of research have shown clear links between exposure to violent visual media and subsequent aggression, however there has been little research that directly compares the effects of exposure to violent visual versus auditory media, or which has experimentally tested the effect of violent song lyrics with musical 'tone' held constant. In the current study 194 participants heard music either with or without lyrics, and with or without a violent music video, and were then given the chance to aggress using the hot sauce paradigm. Musical tone was held constant across groups, and a fifth (control) group had no media exposure at all. Experimental groups, on average, were significantly more aggressive than controls. The strongest effect was elicited by exposure to violent lyrics, regardless of whether violent imagery accompanied the music, and regardless of various person-based characteristics. Implications for theories of media violence and models of aggression are discussed.
Bibliographical noteCorrigendum can be found at Journal of Experimental Social Psychology volume 61, p 148, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.07.004
- violent music video clips
- violent song lyrics