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Can rock music make you racist? Not exactly, says U of M researcher, but ...

The Daily Mail recently lit up the Internet with a story about a University of Minnesota research project. The headline: "Does listening to rock make you racist?" The professor behind the study says the headline was misleading, but the rest of the story captured her findings pretty well: "In a nutshell, we were testing the power of music to affect how people treat others. What we found was that music genre ... has a powerful effect on people's behavior," Prof. Heather LaMarre tells pop culture site Fuse.Tv.
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The Daily Mail recently lit up the Internet with a story about a University of Minnesota research project.

The headline: "Does listening to rock make you racist? Seven minutes of Bruce Springsteen makes students favour white people over others."

The professor behind the study says that headline was misleading, but, she says, the rest of the story captured her findings pretty well.

"In a nutshell, we were testing the power of music to affect how people treat others. What we found was that music genre ... has a powerful effect on people's behavior," Prof. Heather LaMarre tells pop culture site Fuse.Tv.

In the study, college students were asked how they would distribute funds to a variety of student groups. The results suggested that white students who had recently listened to rock music by artists such as Bruce Springsteen or the White Stripes were more likely to unconsciously favor their own race. Students who had listened to Top 40 music divided the money more equally among ethnic groups.

"Music appears to cue one's identity, which leads to in-group favoritism," LaMarre tells Fuse.Tv. "That is different than explicit racism."

Minnesota Public Radio's Cathy Wurzer talked on Friday with LaMarre, a professor in the U's school of journalism.

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