Staff Pick: Extreme metal music and anger processing

Tobias Preuten is the Journal Operations Assistant at Frontiers. He has a PhD in Molecular Biology / Plant Genetics from the Humboldt-University of Berlin, working on mitochondrial genome architecture and plastid transcription.

Tobias Preuten is a Journal Operations Specialist at Frontiers. He has a PhD in Molecular Biology / Plant Genetics from the Humboldt-University of Berlin.

By Tobias Preuten

Good news for Metalheads – your favorite music is good for you!

Heavy Metal and related genres, such as Death-, Black-, Folk-Metal, or Metalcore, are often associated with aggression and even criminal offence. Especially in the tabloid press, but also in more serious media, this connection is frequently (mis)used to explain violent behavior. But does extreme music actually cause anger and its above-mentioned manifestations?

The article “Extreme metal music and anger processing” published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, aims to shed some light on this question. To this end, a group of Australian researchers conducted a study involving 39 extreme metal listeners. In short, they made the subjects angry and, subsequently, let them listen to their favorite (extreme) music or sit in silence for ten minutes. Emotions were measured objectively (heart rate) and subjectively (questionnaires, interviews) at multiple stages during the experiment.

The authors concluded that extreme music does not cause anger but rather helps well-disposed listeners to process their negative emotions and calm down. It furthermore seems to stimulate feelings of activity and inspiration.

Now I look forward to the same study replacing extreme music with Justin Bieber or Katy Perry – listening to that would certainly make ME angry.

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