The Benefits of Metal Music for Mental Health
It is a well-established fact that music is good for one’s health. Studies into the effect of music on people of all ages are abundant, and you wouldn’t believe what aspects and components they have examined so far.
However, when it comes to heavy metal and all its subgenres and cross-genres, there is a certain stigma that follows it around. The one specific theory is that metal music has a wide range of negative influences on both mental and physical health of its fans.
Thankfully, as new researches and studies are published, the arguments for such a theory are quickly disproved. The article originally published in The Conversation by Nick Perham, a lecturer from Cardiff Metropolitan University, says that the reputation of metal music is unfairly constructed as the genre brings a plethora of positive influences and advantages to fans that choose to listen to this type of music. Namely, the people who are not attracted to the genre often describe metal music as violent and angry. The controversy surrounding metal even goes as far as to accuse the genre of promoting suicide and inspiring mass shootings in schools.
However, a question emerges: if metal music is so bad, why then are so many fans worldwide? Metal music (and music in general) is incorporated into every part of our daily routines. References to heavy metal are apparent in each corner of the mainstream culture: from movies to games. It is so popular that even a host of casino games found in a range of top-notch casino establishments is specifically dedicated to the metal genre. Despite being so popular, the uproar is not subsiding in the least. Hence, we cannot evade the logical question: Why is metal music so popular if it affects so many young people in so many bad ways?
One Article to Silence Them All
Turns out, it doesn’t. In his own study, Perham discovered that listening to music that you like/dislike affects spatial rotation. The precise results were that, if the music that you like is in question, the spatial rotation will not be affected, but it certainly leaves an impact on short-term memory performance. On the other hand, music that you are not a fan of affects both the spatial rotation and short-term memory performance.
Other studies were even more directly tied to heavy metal. In the study published in 2007, respondents were subjected to several types of music and silence with the goal of determining the effect of different types of music on the mental state of subjects who are dealing with stress. The results suggest that, after the subject has experienced some kind of stress, listening to calming music or sitting in silence has a soothing effect on them, while listening to heavy metal made them feel anxious. However, there were fans of heavy metal among the subjects. The metalfans experiencedthe complete opposite: listening to heavy metal music after a stressor had a positive effect on them. This all goes to suggest that fans of heavy metal are not inspired to act out or become violent, especially when dealing with situations that involve higher levels of stress. On the other hand, non-fans of the genre will feel inclined to certain outbursts as they are not familiar with the music that they were subjected to, i.e. heavy metal music.
Perham goes on to give even more examples of how metal has positive influences.
Perham mentions a study where it was proved that fans of the metal genre are more open to new experiences and generally possess a stronger sense of individuality. That is probably the result of choosing to listen to music that is intense, complex, and unconventional. Fans also acquire a somewhat negative attitude towards institutional authorities, which stems from open-mindedness and dislike for conventions.
Better Anger Management
Perhaps the most anti-stigmatic finding comes from another study that suggests fans of metal music have a better way of coping with anger. Listening to heavy metal does not make fans sensitized to violence. Several studies provided insight into the lives of older fans that were better at handling anger and had a better sense of control in their youth than their peers that were interested in other types of music.
Last but not least, the final argument that Perham gives in his article is that heavy metal music promotes scientific thinking. According to this, opening discussions within classrooms about the correlation between metal music and violence helps students engage in scientific thinking, analyze logical fallacies, research design ideas, and generally encourages them to think without any biases.
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