Straight outta Bedlam

I’ve just found an odd study on whether rap and heavy rock music encourages ‘inappropriate behaviour’ in psychiatric patients when compared to easy listening and country tunes.

It sounds like it could be something from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but as I don’t have access to the full text, I’m still not sure what the ‘inappropriate behaviours’ were (air guitar? MC Hammer trousers?)

A comparison of the effects of hard rock and easy listening on the frequency of observed inappropriate behaviors: control of environmental antecedents in a large public area.

Journal of Music Therapy. 1992 Spring;29(1):6-17.

Harris CS, Bradley RJ, Titus SK.

Observation of clients at a state mental health hospital by direct care staff indicated that they appeared to act in more inappropriate ways when “hard rock” or “rap” music was played in an open courtyard than when “easy listening” or “country” music was played. A study was conducted to compare the inappropriate behavior of clients when hard rock and rap music were played (21 days), followed by easy listening and country and western music (21 days). This comparison was followed by a reversal phase in which hard rock and rap music were again played (18 days). The behaviors of the clients were observed and recorded via a controlled methodology. The results demonstrated that more inappropriate behavior was observed under conditions in which hard rock and rap music were played than when easy listening and country western music were played. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Link to PubMed entry for music study.


  1. Jake
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Your institution didn’t see fit to subscribe to “Journal of Music Therapy”? How puzzling! ;)

  2. Marek
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    This may of course tell us more about the taste in music of residents in psychiatric institutions (or one of them).
    Force me to listen to 21 days of country music and you’d see some pretty “inappropriate” behaviours.

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