"I know you want it": effects of music with sexually violent lyrics on men's sexually violent attitudes and behaviour
Music is one of the most widely consumed forms of media around the world, and recent improvements in technology have made it easier than ever for people to access an extremely wide range of music with ease. This includes music with antisocial content and themes, including songs with lyrics depicting or approving of sexually violent behaviour. However, despite the prevalence and ease of access of such music, its potential effects on listeners remains critically under studied, especially given that sexual violence is a widespread problem in society. A small base of experimental literature has started to examine this issue, but extant studies have numerous methodological issues, including lack of control over potentially confounding characteristics of the music stimuli used, outdated attitude measures that do not directly reflect approval of sexual violence, and using non-sexual measures of aggressive behaviour. The present study sought to address these issues by writing and recording stimulus music specifically for the research, creating a contemporarily relevant measure of men’s approval of sexual violence toward women, and a behavioural task that specifically measures sexually violent behaviour. Although the current study failed to provide evidence that music with sexually violent lyrics can influence sexually violent attitudes and sexually violent behaviour, there were methodological issues that can explain this null finding, meaning it is still unclear as to whether such effects occur or not. Given the social importance of identifying any factors that can be causally linked to sexual violence, further studies that can shed light on this issue are very much needed. Clear strategies for addressing the methodological issues encountered by this research in order to conduct future studies more rigorously are elucidated, leading to expectations that this important question can be answered more definitively in future.