Friday, August 9, 2019

Is heavy metal GOOD for mental health?

Melissa Gluz, The Agonist, "And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep"; Sara Rigby, BBC Science Focus, 3/18/19; Knotwire Top 10; Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Christina Applegate "meditates" in her own way -- rocking out to death metal in her car, Dead to Me.

Is heavy metal bad for mental health?
Heavy metal music has long been blamed for violence and hostility, but in fact fans could feel happier for listening.

Heavy metal, arguably more than any other genre of music, has a reputation for the effect it has on its listeners’ behaviors and mental health.

Studies have suggested a link between listening to heavy metal and increased suicide risk and desensitization to violence. But these have often failed to take account of outside factors, such as poor family relationships, drug abuse, and feelings of alienation.

On the plus side a recent study at Macquarie University in New South Wales found that music with violent themes does NOT make fans more violent.

The idea that the music a person chooses to listen to can inform his or her behavior is not new. Aristotle believed that music shapes a person’s personality, saying:

“…If over a long time [a person] habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, [that person's] whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form.”

However ignoble the passions that heavy metal music ignites, the effect it has on its fans isn’t quite so negative as one might expect.

Does it desensitize listeners to violence?

(Knotwire/ Loud List) Top 10 Try Not to Headbang Metal Song Challenge (Expert)
New documentary looks at SF Bay Area metal
According to the researchers at Macquarie University, regular listeners, although much more blasé about the contents of the lyrics in heavy metal music, responded equally to violent imagery as non-listeners. …

It can make you happier
In fact, for fans of the genre, the energetic, powerful music could be helpful, providing emotional release.

A 2015 study of fans of extreme music from the University of Queensland made their participants angry, allowed them to listen to the music of their own choice, and then assessed how their emotional state had changed.

The researchers found that, instead of making them angrier, listening to extreme music improved their emotional state, and could help with processing anger.

In a 2018 study at Macquarie University, fans of death metal reported using the music’s emotional charge to motivate them or to work through feelings of anger.

This effect appears to extend to vulnerable listeners, and in particular adolescents. A 2001 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that... More

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