Does Rap Music Increase Aggression?

Courtney Shields


When rap music first came onto the music scene, people started noticing an increase in violent behaviors and offenses. Prior research has found that after observing violence in the form of music or music videos, participants reported higher aggression than their counterparts who were not exposed to the music violence (Anderson, Carnagey, & Eubanks, 2003; Kistler & Lee, 2009; Tropeano, 2006). We hypothesized that participants exposed to background rap music would report more aggressive responses than participants exposed to no music. However, we found no difference in responses on a survey that measured aggression for participants exposed to rap music and those who were exposed to no music. This discrepancy could be attributed to flaws in research design, or it could suggest that conscious acknowledgement of the violent music is necessary for it to become influential to a listener.

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