A recent study conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia has revealed the health benefits of listening to heavy metal music. Contrary to popular belief, which more commonly associates metal music with mosh-pits and head banging, research shows that listening to metal and other forms of “extreme” music can provide catharsis, release, and lead to feelings of calmness.
At the beginning of the study, Dr. Genevieve Dingle and her team of researchers at the institute in Brisbane hypothesized that extreme music would provoke anger and agitation in its listeners. What they discovered was that, in reality, “extreme music matches and helps to process anger.”
The study focused on a variety of sub-genres, including heavy metal, hardcore, scream, and punk. The sampling of subjects used in the study included a range of 39 regular listeners of these types of extreme music, between the ages of 18 to 34. Subjects were asked to describe something that might make them irritated or angry, for example relationship problems, or problems at work. They were then asked to sit in complete silence for ten minutes, or, alternatively, to listen to ten minutes of a song of their own choosing. The researchers discovered that metal music relaxed participants as effectively as sitting in quiet meditation.
“We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions,” researcher Leah Sharman said. “When experiencing anger, extreme-music fans liked to listen to music that could match their anger.”
“The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired,” Dr. Dingle added.
The results of this study will go a long way towards dispelling negative stigmas surrounding musical sub-cultures. There is concrete proof that metal-heads listen to music in order to enhance happiness and wellbeing, just like fans of any other genre of music. The only limitation of the study was that it was conducted in a laboratory, and further exploration into the subject would be well-advised to include data gathered from subjects in their home environments as well.
The study was published in the accredited science journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and has garnered notable recognition from the scientific community.