Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

What Is That Song About?: A Psychological Study of Contemporary Hindi Music

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

What Is That Song About?: A Psychological Study of Contemporary Hindi Music

Article excerpt

Psychology since its inception as a formal discipline nearly 140 years ago has dedicated enormous amounts of efforts to understand abnormality and mental well-being. As a result, a large body of extant knowledge sheds light on various aspects of mental health. However, only recently has the concept gained popularity in the public domain. There has been an increased awareness about mental health among the masses yet there is a long way to go. Jorm (1997) introduced the term 'mental health literacy". It can be defined as "the ability to gain access to, understand, and to use information in ways which promotes and maintains good health" (Nutbeam et al., 1993). The concept of mental health literacy is very instrumental in identifying areas that needs to be stressed upon in order to address the issue of abnormal disorders and to strategise plans to promote better mental health and well being. There are several components involved in this - a) the ability to recognize specific disorders or different types of psychological distress; b) knowledge and beliefs about risk factors and causes; c) knowledge and beliefs about self-help interventions; d) knowledge and beliefs about professional help available; e) attitudes which facilitate recognition and appropriate help-seeking; and f) knowledge of how to seek mental health information (Jorm, 2000).

Mass media in today's time is the most commonly available source of public information. It is easily accessible to people from all walks of life. Mass media undoubtedly has revolutionized many spheres of the social world and so is true for the mental health sector. However, this is not independent of many pitfalls that have come across the way. As discussed above one of the components in mental health literacy is the knowledge about how to seek mental health information. Media therefore bears huge responsibility of imparting correct, theoretically and scientifically valid information to the people. Apart from disseminating incorrect information, media at many times can promote ideas consciously or unconsciously that can prove to be detrimental and annihilating to the mental health. Media contraptions like television or the Internet can be seen as increasingly influential agents of socialization. According to Social Learning theory by Bandura (1985) individuals even when they have not actually performed a behaviour can leam by imitation and consequences of others' behaviours. Therefore, it is very easy to adopt ideas that are popularized by the media. Another perspective providing insight into why and how media can influence attitudes and behaviors can be taken from the Disinhibition Theory which posits that existing behavioural tendencies of individuals are inhibited by experience. Continued exposure to information through TV and other sources disinhibits them and makes them more open to such behaviour (Comstock, 1990). For example, media can encourage a certain body image that may seem normal and preferable even though it may cost physically. Further, research suggests that exposure to one kind of event in mass media activates other associated ideas for a short period of time through a process called priming (Berkowitz, 1994). Arousal theory focuses primarily on the immediate effects that sexually suggesting information has on individuals. For example, a rape scene in a movie can physiologically arouse a person and leave him with pleasurable feelings and thus the person might not hold strong notions against sexual exploitation and consider it to be normal. Another major idea that explains the impact of media on behaviour is the Cultivation theory. According to this theory, heavy exposure to media creates and cultivates attitudes more consistent with media's version of reality than the reality itself.

Music as one of the primary forms of entertainment consumed relates to people across age groups. However, the youth relates to these songs more than any other age group as the underlying themes here reflects the Zeitgeist of their times. …

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