According to a new study by Australia's University of Queensland, a public research university mainly located in Brisbane, extreme music (including heavy metal) can positively influence people who are experiencing anger.
Whereas previous studies have linked loud, chaotic music to delinquency and other dastardly deeds, UQ's School of Psychology student Leah Sharman and Dr. Genevieve Dingle suggest that heavy music makes listeners feel inspired and calmed.
"We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions," 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.
"Results showed levels of hostility, irritability and stress decreased after music was introduced, and the most significant change reported was the level of inspiration they felt.
"The findings indicate that extreme music did not make angry participants angrier; rather, it appeared to match their physiological arousal and result in an increase in positive emotions. Listening to extreme music may represent a healthy way of processing anger for these listeners."
The study, which was published in Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, involved 39 regular listeners of extreme music, aged 18 to 34. Participants were monitored during a baseline period after a 16-minute "anger induction."
The participants then spent 10 minutes listening to the music of their choice, or 10 minutes of silence. Then they were monitored again. The "anger induction" involved the interviewees describing personal "angering events" from their own lives, with prompts based on relationships, jobs and money.
"A secondary aim for the study was to see what music (the) angry participants would select from their playlist," Sharman said. "It was interesting that half of the chosen songs contained themes of anger or aggression, with the remainder containing themes like—though not limited to—isolation and sadness.
"Yet participants reported they used music to enhance their happiness, immerse themselves in feelings of love and enhance their well-being. All of the responses indicated that extreme-music listeners appear to use their choice of music for positive self-regulatory purposes."
Although the majority (74 percent) of participants were born in Australia, the remainder were born in diverse locations including the U.S., Oman, Sweden, Indonesia, South Africa, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
You can read every word of the team's "Extreme Metal Music and Anger Processing" research paper right here.
BTW: The video below has nothing to do with the study mentioned above. We just like it.