Your angry teenage self is vindicated.

Psychologists investigating whether extreme music causes aggression and deliquency have found that listening to heavy metal can actually enhance positive emotions.

A study carried out at The University of Queensland suggests that extreme music – defined as genres like heavy metal, emo, hardcore, punk and screamo – can help listeners to process their anger. The researchers took 39 extreme music fans aged between 18 and 34 and subjected them to an “anger induction” – where they described angering events in their life, with prompts around relationships, employment and finances – followed by either 10 minutes of extreme music from their own playlist or 10 minutes of silence as a control test.

The subjects’ levels of hostility, irritability and stress increased during the anger induction and decreased after both music and silence, but while silence had no effect on positive emotions, the extreme music was found to enhance feelings of calmness and inspirations.

“We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions,” said researcher Leah Sharman. “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.”

A secondary aim for the study was to see what music angry participants would select from their playlist. “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,” said Sharman. “Yet participants reported they used music to enhance their happiness, immerse themselves in feelings of love and enhance their well-being.”

The paper doesn’t specify which tracks the participants chose to listen to, but it does namecheck Chimaira (pictured) and Kreator as examples of extreme music with “aggressive lyrics and titles”. [via The Guardian]



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