This study investigated college students' judgments about popular music with controversial lyrics. Five categories of lyrics were included: profane, sexually obscene, degrading towards women, degrading towards minorities, and challenging towards authority. Thirty-one females and 19 males volunteered to complete a questionnaire which included (1) demographic questions, (2) general questions about civil liberties (e.g., Do you believe in freedom of speech?), and (3) general questions about each category of lyrics (e.g., Are you offended by music with profane lyrics? Should music with profane lyrics be played on the radio?). Subjects then listened to musical selections including lyrics from each category and responded to the same series of questions as in (3) after each song. The results indicated that females were more offended than males in every category. However, both genders reported being less offended after the selections were played, with the exception of the selection with lyrics that challenged authority. In general, subjects upheld civil liberties such as freedom of speech, but also maintained that some songs with controversial lyrics should be censored (e.g., should not be played on the radio).
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©1996 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Nelson, Jeffrey R.
"Students' Judgements About Controversial Popular Music,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 1:
1, Article 16.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol1/iss1/16