The Moral Priorities of Rap Listeners

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
  • | 2 Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
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A cross-cultural approach to moral psychology starts from researchers withholding judgments about universal right and wrong and instead exploring what the members of a community subjectively perceive to be moral or immoral in their local context. This study seeks to identify the moral concerns that are most relevant to listeners of hip-hop music. We use validated psychological surveys including the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek 2009) to assess which moral concerns are most central to hip-hop listeners. Results show that hip-hop listeners prioritize concerns of justice and authenticity more than non-listeners and deprioritize concerns of respecting authority. These results suggest that the concept of the “good person” within hip-hop culture is fundamentally a person that is oriented towards social justice, rebellion against the status quo, and a deep devotion to keeping it real. Results are followed by a discussion of the role of youth subcultures in moral socialization.

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