Music and Its Effects on Behaviors in Teenagers and Young Adults

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Jorja M. Rea
Professor Andre Yang
English 1A
25 November 2012
Music and its effects on Behaviors in Teenagers and Young Adults Picture this: A young man is arrested for murder, twisting and cursing at the police as his mother watches from the sidewalk. It is light enough out that you can see, not far from him, lays the body of a young women. She was his girlfriend, whom he had beaten to death. This young man is just one of many young adults that are being arrested for committing vicious crimes in our society. Barongan and Nagayama Hall (1995) examined the effects of cognitive distortions in men had towards women. The men in this study viewed women in a sexually aggressive way. The men’s behavior was observed in a laboratory setting. Twenty-seven men listened to misogynous rap music and 27 men listened to neutral rap music. Participants then viewed neutral, sexually-violent, and assaultive film vignettes and chose the vignette that they found appealing. The results showed that “participants who viewed the sexual-violent stimuli indeed felt sexually violent towards women, even having thoughts of raping and abusing women”. That young man will spend the next 3 years of his teenage life in a jovial facility and then be relocated to prison once he turns 18.What happened that caused a young man with a 3.0 GPA to go from good to bad? According to Ortiz (2004) it all has to do with the human brain. The human brain has been called the most complex mass in the known universe. This is a well-deserved reputation, for this organ contains billions of connections called neurons. Among its parts and governs countless actions, involuntary and voluntary, physical, mental and emotional. The largest part of the brain is the frontal lobe. A small area of the frontal lobe located behind the forehead, called the prefrontal cortex, controls the brain’s most advanced functions. This part often referred to as the “CEO” of the body, providing humans with advanced cognition. It allows us to prioritize thoughts, imagine, think in the abstract, anticipate consequences, plan, and control impulses. Along with everything else in the body, the brain changes significantly during adolescence. In the last five years, scientists, using new technologies, such as an MRI, have discovered that adolescent brain is far less developed than previously believed. Doctors of Harvard Medical School have studied the relation between these new findings and teen behavior and concluded that adolescents often rely on emotional parts of the brain, the Amygdala, rather than the frontal lobe, “one of the things that teenagers seem to do is to respond more strongly with gut response than they do with evaluating the consequences of what they’re doing.” Since this young man, and many countless others in his position, lacks a complete prefrontal cortex they are forced to use the Amygdala. Fight or Flight is all it tells us to do. Thus, without any clear knowledge these young people are forced to find role models who the feel “get them”. They turn to music for its lyrics and beat and this is where the trouble begins. Mahiri and Conner (2003) tested whether or not it is true that our African-American youth is more violent than other nationalities and why. Is it the rap music that they may listen to? The researchers assessed the perspective on violence of 41 middle school students attending a unique school in a low-income section of a large northern California city. The researchers probed ways that these students interpreted or reflected upon rap music and hip-hop culture, particularly its representation of violence, crime, and sex. A brief questionnaire was handed out to each of these participants, which consisted of scenario questions (what would you do if…). Based on the responses to the questions researchers were able to come to the conclusion that these particular students were “unfortunately looking up to these negative role models”. “The constant talk of female assault, sex,...
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