After reading Gerbner and Murray’s chapters about violence in media, I made an interesting connection to a study that I encountered regarding heavy metal music and its resulting effect on tweens and teens. Developmental psychologist Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University found that the sounds of the music a child listens to rather than the lyrics can have major effects on the mindset of children. Gentile’s study involved young teenage kids listening to heavy metal music with violent lyrics, heavy metal music with Christian-based lyrics, and music he deemed “easy listening music.” After the subjects listened to the music with the heavy metal elements, researchers studied the perspective of the children toward women. According to the study, the kids had the same negative attitude toward women from listening to the heavy metal music with violent lyrics and Christian lyrics. Gentile claims that children associate the screaming, cluttered sound of heavy metal music with negative and angry thoughts. Thus, Gentile points to this study as evidence of the effect of music rather than lyrics on the children and their attitudes toward violence, women, and other aspects of society.
The indicative effect of sounds to certain thought processes is really something I find interesting. The induced violence from media explained by Murray can be rendered from something as simple as the sound engineering of a program or song rather than the written content of the medium. I think we often refer to the actions, plot, and appearance of media when we discuss elements that contribute to violence, yet sound is not typically addressed. Hence, I think this is an area of research worthy of our attention.