“Bang your head! Metal health’ll drive you mad”

Quiet Riot, Bang Your Head (Metal Health) (1983)

The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, has just finished a study that was initially determined to confirm probably what most of us thought; that listening to heavy metal and punk rock leads to aggressive and sometimes violent behavior.  However, surprise surprise.  What the study really found was the opposite; that listening to such music dissipates such behavior, it does not cause it.


The study involved 39 people between the ages of 18 and 34 who regularly listened to “extreme” music which is defined as including heavy metal, hardcore, and punk.  The subjects were put through 16 minutes of “anger induction,” during which they talked about such irritating things as relationships, money, and work.  After getting the subjects agitated they either sat in silence for 10 minutes or listened to 10 minutes of songs from their own playlists. What researchers learned was that those listening to the aggressive music were just as calmed as those sitting in silence.   You can read the study here.

“This study found that extreme music fans listen to music when angry to match their anger, and to feel more active and inspired. They also listen to music to regulate sadness and to enhance positive emotions. The results refute the notion that extreme music causes anger….”

By the researchers’ own admission, the study was limited since it was conducted in a controlled environment and not in a “realistic social setting,” therefore, they called for further study.  However, despite these limitations, the study’s main conclusion still stands: “extreme music matches and helps to process anger” rather than causing it.

Interesting thoughts.  Do you agree with this study’s conclusions?






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