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Why “The Star-Spangled Banner” Makes Sports More Violent

Over the last decade, one of the most fascinating areas of research in psychological science has been the study of “priming” behavior. Social scientists found, for example, that a reminder of mortality, such as “orange alerts,” primes voters to choose a strong, charismatic leader; and marketers proved that $3000 handbags in store windows help prime shoppers to consider $100 T-shirts a bargain. But perhaps the most powerful “prime mover” is music, which can change our moods and our behavior within seconds — whether we are aware of it or not.In this latest report, from Kansas State University, researchers looked at the positive and negative responses stimulated by music lyrics from a variety of song categories, including patriotic (“The Star-Spangled Banner”), secular and religious Christmas (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “O Holy Night”) as well as neutral children’s songs, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” After listening to the songs, study participants filled out a survey that asked questions about their religion, their attitude toward other cultures, and diversity. Half completed the survey before the …

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Sports and ExerciseMusicMood

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