STATEMENTS OF DR. JOE STUESSY, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO, AND DR. PAUL KING, MEMPHIS, TNMr. STUESSY. Yes, sir.
Mr. Chairman, Senators and guests, thank you for allowing me to make a few remarks.
I have submitted a substantial written testimony. l hope you will take the chance to read it because my 5-minute speech will be rather brief and just try to hit the main topics. Substantiation is in the written documentation.
Let me see if I can convey to you what we know from the field of music psychology about music and its interrelationship with people. I should say that I am on the music faculty of the University of Texas at San Antonio. I hold a Ph.D. in music, and have taught a course in the history of rock music for 12 years at two universities.
The first thing we know is that music affects behavior. Many children will say I listen to that stuff, but it does not affect me. In fact, Mr. Snider said exactly those words earlier today. He said, it does not affect me. We have known intuitively for centuries, and it has been proven conclusively by scientific studies in recent decades that music does affect behavior.
Music affects our moods, emotions, attitudes, and our resultant behavior. Music affects us psychologically and physiologically. This fact explains why we have choirs and organs at church, why we have bands at football games, Muzak in stores, business offices, and doctors' offices. It explains why there are military marches, discoteques, music behind movies and TV, Jazzercise, and most importantly, commercial jingles.
We know some other things about the way music interacts with people. We know that music is an aid to verbal retention. Any verbal message that you receive, you are more likely to remember if it is in a musical context.
We also know that repetition increases our preference for that which is repeated. The more we hear things, the more likely we are to internalize it and like it.
We also know that coordinated multisensory input reinforces music's message. The more senses that can be evolved in receiving a coordinated message, the more likely that message is to impact upon our conscious and subconscious.
Although this next point may seem contradictory to the previous one, it is really not, and that is that there is such a thing as exclusionary input, that is to say, input which blocks out all other inputs, thus removing distractions. We also know that exclusionary input increase the impact on the mind of the messages being received.
Today's heavy metal music is categorically different from previous forms of popular music. It contains the element of hatred, a meanness of spirit. Its principal themes are, as you have already heard, extreme violence, extreme rebellion, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and perversion and Satanism. I know personally of no form of popular music before which has had as one of its central elements the element of hatred.