Heavy metal, punk, and other loud, aggressive varieties of music have been historically blamed for things such as child murders and satanic rituals, and some may suspect their influence even today. According to a small new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, however, heavy metal and similar musical genres might actually help calm angry listeners.
Heavy Metal: A Calming Influence?
Researchers recruited 39 people who regularly listen to music the researchers classified as “extreme”—heavy metal, hardcore, punk, and emo. Participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 34, participated in a 16-minute “anger induction” session. During the session, participants discussed high-stress topics such as relationship problems and financial problems. Researchers then gave participants 10 minutes to listen to the music of their choice and 10 minutes of silence.isolation or loss. The participants reported that the music helped them feel calmer and happier. Researches found that the effects of listening to the so-called “extreme” music were similar to the effects of 10 minutes of silence, suggesting that both can be calming. Many participants reported feeling inspired after listening to music, and researchers noted that participants were less irritable and aggressive after hearing the music of their choice.
The research team suggests that, rather than being a catalyst for negative or aggressive emotions, angry music can help listeners process their feelings and as a result lead to greater well-being. Because the study occurred in a lab setting, researchers say they will need to replicate their findings in more natural environments. The effects of listening to angry music in a lab might be quite different than the effects associated with listening to the same type of music alone in a bedroom, for instance. Additionally, the sample size was a small one, so research on a larger group is necessary to confirm these findings.
Head-banging tunes can have same effect as a warm hug. (2015, June 17). Retrieved from https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2015/06/head-banging-tunes-can-have-same-effect-warm-hug.
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