Original author: Nick Perham - Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Psychology, Cardiff University.
Due to the extreme sound and aggressive lyrics, heavy metal is usually associated with scandals. This genre was accused of insulting the feelings of believers
, mass school executions
and provoking suicides
. But if this is such a “bad” direction, then why does he still have so many fans? And can it even have negative effects?
There are many reasons why people become fans of a particular musical genre. It can be a feeling of unity: you enjoy the sound, associate yourself with the theme of the song, or want to look and act in a certain way. For me, an introvert teenager, the love of heavy metal allowed me to feel a little different, to separate from the bulk of classmates who listened to pop music. So I got an internal charge of confidence. And I really liked heavy music.
I became interested in heavy metal at the age of 14 or 15: it all started with the ZZ TOP album, which was recorded by my uncle, the singles AC / DC and Bon Jovi. A little later I read through Kerrang !, Metal Hammer, Metal Forces, RAW magazines and bought new albums with all the money. I also grew my hair and cut my mallet twice, put on a denim jacket with patches (thanks to my mother) and attended concerts by such famous artists as Metallica and The Wildhearts, and local Bristol groups, for example, Frozen Food.
Years later, I discovered a lot of scientific work on heavy music, and I often turned to them in my research on the impact of music on performance. In addition, I used thrash metal - a faster and more aggressive metal direction - to study how the impact of your favorite music differs from the influence of any other. Thresh metal was used just because the experiment participants did not like it. I found that, regardless of preferences, music destructively affects short-term memory
, and if it is still not to my liking, it violates three-dimensional thinking
(the ability to mentally rotate objects).
Other scientists have more specifically studied the love of metal and its effect on behavior. Indeed, heavy music negatively affects the well-being of those who do not like it. In one study,
participants who did not like heavy music listened to classical music, metal, selected compositions on their own, or simply sat in silence after exposure to an external stimulus. After heavy metal, the participants showed the highest level of anxiety, and the impact of other music or being in silence reduced the feeling of anxiety. Interestingly, the rate of heartbeat and respiration decreased equally under all conditions.
Going deeper into the differences between fans and opponents of heavy music, other researchers found
that people who prefer intense, powerful and extraordinary music, easier to accept a new experience and worse recognize someone else's authority. Nevertheless, some people have low self-esteem and there is a need to realize their uniqueness.
Someone can conclude that such negative behavior is the result of the influence of metal, but the same study shows that it can act relaxingly. Yes, in adolescence, heavy music fans may experience
an increased level of depression and anxiety, but the question remains open: music attracts people in this state or provokes it.
Despite the harsh lyrics of some songs, a recent study
shows that sensitivity to scenes of violence does not depend on genre preferences, which refutes the opinion of the negative effects of
prolonged enthusiasm for heavy music. Moreover, in comparison with pop music lovers, heavy metal fans in their youth felt happier
and easier to adapt in adulthood. Heavy music reduces the level of aggression
and enhances the positive emotions of its fans - thus it is a healthy and functional way of handling negative emotions.
Some scientists conduct very unusual studies of heavy music. For example, you will stop trusting metal friends when you find out that after heavy metal
they add more spicy sauce to other people in a glass of water than after regular music.
Finally, heavy music develops scientific thinking
, but listening to it is not enough for this. Teachers can use assertions as a teaching material that a particular genre provokes immoral and violent behavior. Such accusations have been made against Cradle of Filth, Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson and many others, and they perfectly illustrate cognitive biases, logical and research errors, helping students develop analytical skills.
So, comrades, it doesn't matter whether you rush along the highway to hell or climb the stairs to heaven, hold on to your path. Music will make you feel that everything else does not matter. And for this, you just need to cut it to the full and scream in full throat. Dig !!!