Well there goes my attempt to make peace with the media. I can tell by the title of this article that I will not be able to maintain my ceasefire.
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.
Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.
Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.
So finally there is proof, it is in the MUSIC, we have something we can BLAME! YAY! Parents of the world rejoice, researchers of the world sigh with resignation.
This study cannot conclusively prove that the music causes kids to behave a certain way. All it shows is that there is a significant link* between sexy music and kids who have sex early. (But that doesn't sound nearly as sexy.)
How do I know this? Well let us look at their methodology:
The study, based on telephone interviews with 1,461 participants aged 12 to 17, appears in the August issue of Pediatrics, being released Monday.
Most participants were virgins when they were first questioned in 2001. Follow-up interviews were done in 2002 and 2004 to see if music choice had influenced subsequent behavior.
So what we're saying is, teens who like sexy music had sex. I bet we could show the same relationship between a thousand different types of music. Teens who listen to music about drugs, do drugs, teens who listen to music about anarchy, like anarchy, teens who listen to music about racism, like racism, teens who listen to music about Jesus, like Jesus. Is it because of the music? Or is it because they like X and therefore listen to music that they can relate to?
It's a chicken and the egg problem. And this research cannot prove the link because it did not control for outside factors like views that were already formed. If they truly wanted to test this they would have to randomly assign kids to different groups and force these groups to listen to randomly determined types of music for an assigned period of time and see if their preferences changed.
All of us humans have choices about the music that we store on or iPods or we tolerate on our radio, and these choices could actually reflect our personal views more than change them. I am not saying that music can't affect our life choices, I am saying that this study in no way proves that because of the way it was conducted.
The problem I have with the MSM is that they don't understand research methods and they report irresponsibly on things they clearly don't understand. Sorry Pat.
*Significant Link- This is NOT NOT NOT the same thing as saying X causes Y. It just means that X is related to Y. People who prefer Y are more likely to prefer X, people who prefer X are more likely to prefer Y, it works both ways. But neither necessarily determines the other, it could even be caused by force Z that isn't even included in the analysis.
UPDATE: My journalist friend just sent me a PDF or the article from the front page of his paper, my e-mailed response used the f word a lot. I wish someone was actually going to read this post, then maybe I'd feel better having told at least one person that this study is completely full of shit. Alas, too bad my traffic is actually in negative numbers now.