Here’s a curious study, which reports that “a multivariate logistic regression analysis finds that opera fans are 2.37 times more accepting of suicide because of dishonor than nonfans.” The authors think this is because suicide in the name of honor is a theme of many opera plots. They call it the “Madame Butterfly” effect.
You have to wonder how they defined “fan.” And how they interpreted those opera plots. For instance, does Tosca leap off the balcony for honor? Or is it because she’s about to be booked for murder?
Then too there’s the perennial issue of cause and effect. If there’s something to this result, we can’t say if it means histrionic people are attracted to opera or if, instead, listening to opera makes a person more accepting of midnight duels, poison-quaffing and other forms of honor-defending self-expression.
Still, for anyone whose parents or partners think their gangsta rap/heavy metal/Goth music is anti-life, this one’s for you.
Tip of the hat to the guys at Mind Hacks for finding this one.
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