12 year old goths tend to become more criminal then 12 year old Bieber fans - a scientific study gone haywire

Posted on 09/01/13

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12 year old goths tend to become more criminal then 12 year old Bieber fans - a scientific study gone haywire

This morning I stumbled on a news article that said that a survey at the University of Utrecht had shown that 12 year old hard rock, hip-hop and house fans tend to be more criminal later on in their lives then 12 year old pop music fans. Instead of ridiculing it without any decent reading of the original research like most other media did (copy paste is common these days) I looked for the original research results, which I found right here. Just for the fun I looked if it said anything about gothic music or industrial music fans. While industrial music as such was not visible in the study (it appears to be included in the section 'techno/house' - not that that improves things as you will read below), I did find data on gothic music fans though. And they weren't particularly pleasing either. Read along and mark the words I put in bold…

"A number of correlational studies have shown that adolescents who prefer loud, non-mainstream, or even deviant types of music engage in more risky and deviant behaviors compared with their musically conventional peers. More specifically, from the 1980s onward, young people preferring rock genres, such as heavy metal, gothic, and punk, consistently showed more risky behaviors, such as drunk driving, speeding, alcohol and drug use, and minor delinquencies in Canadian, Dutch, US, and Swedish studies. (…) In the late 1980s, electronic dance music emerged, and fans of genres, such as house, trance, or techno, were more likely to use alcohol and (hard) drugs and engage in risk behavior in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands."

There goes your reputation when you are an industrial music and/or gothic music fan.

12 year old goths tend to be more criminal then 12 year old Bieber fans - a scientific study gone haywire

The study also says that the fans of deviant music styles showed more externalizing problems than fans of conventional chart pop music or highbrow music, such as classical music and jazz (which means, I fit in both sections).

And then comes this paragraph that says that "girls reported a higher initial preference for chart pop, R&B, and jazz compared with boys. Boys, compared with girls, reported a higher preference for hip-hop, metal, gothic, punk, and trance. No significant gender differences were found in the initial preference for rock, techno/hardhouse, and classical music. Significant gender differences in the development of music preferences were found only for gothic music and rock. On average, boys reported a significant decrease in their preference for rock and gothic music, whereas girls showed no significant change in their preference".

In other words, it explains why we should have more young boys than girls in the gothic music scene, but a bigger percentage of adult female gothic music fans. Gothic music boys abandon this style of music faster than girls when they get older so the study says.

Nothing weird so far? It's all possible indeed. But then I noticed the sample they took: exactly 309 people (in Holland). Now, knowing that gothic music is already a very small subgenre, how many persons were actually followed per sub-genre? And not only that, how could they attach significant results per sub-genre whith such an abysmally small sample to start with? The problem of using such a small sample becomes clear when the researchers tackle the gender differences. According to the study the number of industrial music and EBM fans should be 50/50 male/female. This does not correspond at all with the data we have of EBM-fans that liked our Facebook page which has a bit more than 309 likes, namely 43.000 plus. Our figures show that 32.5% is female and 66.7% male. This is a number that seems to be in line with a lot of other industrial music related pages that we run and/or maintain. In short, if a study like this (that gets mainstream press attention) even gets the basics wrong, what is the rest of the study worth?

My conclusion
Some universities and researchers need to publicize as much studies as possible in order to get subsidies. I tend to believe that this is another study done to rake in millions of euros for not so scientifically well executed work due to the extremely small sample used for this 'research'. You should almost wonder why Side-Line (or any other magazine with a large Facebook page presence (and insight data)) were not asked to contribute to this study. The results could have been very different indeed.

Tom F.M. ter Bogt, Loes Keijsers and Wim H.J. Meeus, please, leave this to real scientists, not to pediatric amateurs like you seem to be.

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