Could listening to rock-and-roll music actually make you stupid? Published research over the last several years indicates that children who are exposed rock-n-roll in utero or during childhood have a lower IQ than children who are exposed to other types of music. Researchers also found that children exposed to rock-and-roll music are more likely to be violent and have psychological problems.
It’s being called the Tool effect, and the phenomenon seems to be the exact opposite of the Mozart effect.
The relationship of music to cognitive function is a very well studied area. It has been proven that exposure to intelligent, classical music by artists like Mozart, Enya and Yanni can have a substantial effect on spatial-reasoning and increase IQ. It’s even been suggested that exposing your water to specific frequencies found in music by artists such as Mozart before ingesting it can increase cognitive abilities.
But recently researchers begin to question the other side of the spectrum. How might exposure to rock-n-roll music affect the brain of a developing child?
Dr. Alfred Tomatis discovered that unnatural stimulation from abnormal sounds during early childhood development, such as the sounds that come from rock-n-roll music, can cause aberrant and even violent behaviors. These behaviors include delayed communication skills and antisocial behavior, as well as sociopathy and narcissism, among other undesirable traits.
“We found a high number rock-and-roll music listeners who believed music with odd time signatures, like what the band Tool might play, is somehow a more intelligent type of music,” researcher Millicent Jeffries-Kern said. “These people have something wrong with them because the music is actually really terrible.”
Many Tool songs are written in odd time signatures, like 6½/8 or 5/4, which creates abnormal frequencies in the body and causes the brain to scramble and distort temporal ordering and other functions. Many other rock-and-roll bands, like Primus and Devo, also create music using odd time signatures, which helps researchers explain why so many rock-and-roll music listeners are bad people.
“We chose Tool to be the namesake of the phenomenon, not only because the sounds the band makes are the types of incredibly abnormal sounds mentioned by Dr. Tomatis, but because our study shows that listening to rock-and-roll music will most likely turn you into a total tool,” Jeffries-Kern said.
It’s not just odd time signatures that are the problem, however. Jeffries-Kern warns, “there is a lot of very mediocre rock-and-roll music flooding the market today that you have to be wary of. Rock-and-roll music created using standard time signatures is still pretty terrible, and the sounds have the same, if not a worse effect on the intelligence, reasoning, and psychological functioning.”
A survey of the prison population shows that every single person serving time listens to rock-n-roll music, or listened to it during their early developmental stages. Violent criminals, rapists, murders, and drug dealers all admit to being exposed to rock-n-roll from a young age. Researchers are now certain that rock-and-roll music was a contributing factor in the crimes.
In 2010, a group of researchers with the University of Pratt played several Slipknot and Nickleback songs to patients suffering from violent schizophrenia. A control group listened to a selection of John Tesh songs. Upon conclusion, the researchers found that the patients who were exposed to rock-n-roll music were 87% more likely to commit an act of violence than those who were not exposed. After a week, the exposed patients were still pretty violent.
“The effect is not just limited to spatial–temporal tasks involving mental imagery and temporal ordering,” Jeffries-Kern said. “What we are seeing is basically a permanent mutation of spatial reasoning performance with dramatically lower spatial intelligence than what we should be seeing in people at these developmental stages.”