It’s official, listening to Metallica, Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and Skrillex will turn you into a delinquent.
At least, that’s according to research from a new study conducted on teenagers whose results conclude that listening to hip-hop, heavy metal, gothic, and trance music encourages delinquency.
As Toronto paper The Star reports, the new findings come from a study, published in the journal Pediatrics, titled ‘Early Adolescent Music Preferences and Minor Delinquency’ led and conducted by Dr. Tom ter Bogt of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Dr. ter Bogt’s team followed and tested 149 males and 160 females from the age of 12 until the age of 16, finding that those of their sample whose musical tastes tended towards heavier, harder music genres – like “rock, African American music, and electronic dance music” – got into trouble more between the ages of 12 and 16 than those that didn’t, with gender having no effect on the outcome.
Scientific right? “We were stunned ourselves,” Dr. Tom ter Bogt tells The Star. “We checked it over and over again.” The Doctor also emphasised that their study defined “minor delinquency” as acts of vandalism, shoplifting, and fighting, and not serious breaches of law, or joining gangs and criminals.
Of their early teenage sample, the study found that 12-year-olds who preferred rock, punk, R&B, and even techno, showed little rebelliousness into their later years, until the age of 16 (where puberty no doubt took over… just a hunch). Other genres, like traditional pop, jazz, and classical, were the tastes of kids that “stayed out of trouble” entirely.
Though there has been research connecting musical tastes with teenage behaviour, Dr. ter Bogt believes that his study is the first that demonstrates how 12-year-old musical preferences can predict and influence 16-year-old behaviour, likening the effects to a thermometer, where music tastes can measure how behaviour will develop.“I would suggest to parents if your 12-year-old child listens to very, very noisy music, rebellious music, be aware…” – Dr. Tom ter Bogt
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“What we believe happens if you have this taste for rebellious music, noisy music, it brings you in contact with other kids with the same type of music taste and you are contaminated by the behaviour in that group,” he says. “If you listen to classical music or jazz, overall these kids tend to behave far less dramatically.”
Dr. ter Bogt suggests that if parents want a docile, socially lubricated child, they better be wary of their kids getting too into Slayer. “I would suggest to parents if your 12-year-old child listens to very, very noisy music, rebellious music, be aware of what kinds of friends he or she brings to the house.”
The Netherlands doctor has been studying the connection between music and behaviour for a decade, noting that he has a personal stake in his studies, due to the development of his own 10-year-old son, who “likes Justin Bieber but also the German heavy metal band Rammstein,” says Dr. ter Bogt. “I’ve got to keep an eye on him”
Worries that stem from his own dalliances in his youth,”the first LP I bought in those days was the Beach Boys. The second was Black Sabbath. I was into the heavy stuff myself and at 16 or 17, I was involved in an occasional thing or two, although I was never at a police station.
“Like most kids, I grew out of it and became a normal law-abiding citizen,” he adds.
Dr. ter Bogt and his team of researchers will continue to follow their 249 teenage samples in the oncoming years to see how their musical tastes will affect later development. “What we are investigating is a limited type of problem behaviour, not heavy deviant behaviour that gets people in trouble for their whole lives.”
Perhaps their study needs a motto? Once a Rammstein-listening troublemaker, always a Rammstein-listening troublemaker.