In my high school speech class I gave a persuasive talk on the dangers of country music. I detailed the monotonous harmonic progressions that could hypnotize drivers; the suggestive lyrics that could encourage divorce, drinking, and truck driving; and the potential for certain vocal twangs to puncture ear drums. It was a very popular speech, and apparently one ahead of its time. Steven Stack of Wayne State University and Jim Gundlach of Auburn University have published a study of "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide." They found that listening to country music did cause an increase in the white suicide rate, "independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability."
Yes, I did become aware of this study because it won the Ig-nobel Award in Medicine this year. But it is also a good example to include in the unit on music and social behavior of my psych of music class. And frankly, everyone should be aware of the dangers inherent in country music. I'm watching you, Faith Hill.