Psychology researchers found that listening to heavy metal music is a healthy way of processing negative emotions. It does not make people more violent. Some research shows that metalheads are less likely to cheat on their partners than jazz listeners.

The Social Psychology Of Heavy Metal & Rock Music: Research On Metalheads

Picture this: A bunch of unique looking headbanging people listening to heavy music; entering a whirlpool of human collision in front of their favorite artist; raising their fists in the air; raising the devil’s horns \m/. What is that all about? Who are they? These are the metalheads. What is their psychology?

We are going to look at the social psychology of heavy metal and rock music fans. In this article, I’ll review the scientific research done on their personality, their behavior, why they do what they do, what they get out it, etc. The effects of heavy metal music can be described through a social-music psychology lens. Let’s look through it.

Heavy metal has many connotations that relate to social psychology. I’ll highlight th… Continue Reading (11 minute read)

13 thoughts on “Psychology researchers found that listening to heavy metal music is a healthy way of processing negative emotions. It does not make people more violent. Some research shows that metalheads are less likely to cheat on their partners than jazz listeners.”

  1. savagewolf666

    Have you listened to jazz? I mean its all about doing the mess around

  2. thomas_magnum277

    *Headbangs his way to mental stability*

  3. _Silly_Wizard_

    Well yeah, jazz is for swingers.

  4. immobilemotion

    As a long time metal guitar player whose played thousands of shows, metal shows and pits are diverse af. Everyone let’s out pent up aggression, sometimes resulting in fist fights or pile ons (more of a hardcore phenomenon) but at the same time if someone falls during a circle pit 5 people will rush to them and pull them to their feet again, and 5 other people will figure out a way to get the kid in a wheelchair above their heads so the kid can experience crowd surfing, chair and all. It was damn fun but after you’ve seen so many shows all the negativity does get to you. I had to stop playing bc every show focuses anger and aggression into violent physical activities, I could only take so much year after year.

  5. Papancasudani

    I kow it’s asking a lot, but I wish people would read what the actual research says instead of snappy headlines. Here’s one of a few studies cited by the article:

    “We found that preferences for pop, rap/hip-hop, soul/funk, and electronica/dance music were positively associated with using music to increase emotional arousal.

    Soul/funk music preferences were also positively associated with using music for up-regulating positive emotionality and down-regulating negative emotionality.

    More broadly, energetic and rhythmic music was positively associated with using all examined forms of musical emotion regulation, suggesting this dimension of music is especially useful in modulating emotions”

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320639925_Music_as_an_emotion_regulation_strategy_An_examination_of_genres_of_music_and_their_roles_in_emotion_regulation

  6. human-vegetable

    idk im kinda skeptical that you’re more or less likely to cheat depending on your music taste lol, just sounds like a poorly conducted survey

  7. ChemoDrugs

    Heavy Metal, Post-Hardcore, and Hardcore, it all slaps to me. Hail Satan. Help me process my emotions with Spiritbox.

  8. tossinthisshit1

    >The popular notion that heavy music makes one angry is not substantiated. In fact, [listening to heavy metal may be a healthy way of processing anger](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00272/full).
    >
    >Go headbang to Megadeth if you want to process anger constructively.
    >
    >When we look at the stress-reducing capacity of music (as a coping mechanism), for non-fans, [classical music and self-chosen music works better than a prescription of heavy metal](https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10484-007-9043-9).

    [what about classical metal?](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txwlKqt01TQ)

  9. HubnesterRising

    As someone who’s been a die-hard metal fan for over 20 years now, I can say that metal is one of the most stabilizing things in my life. People are always telling me how “angry” it is and asking if it makes *me* angry. No, it’s *cathartic.* It’s an outlet. It’s a bunch of people I can empathize with because a lot of the time they’re singing about issues that I am also struggling with. Sometimes it’s just really fucking good music and I don’t need to relate to it (I’m not an android dealing with the sapience equivalent of racism but fuck I still can’t get enough of Fear Factory’s *Genexus),* but often there are important parallels.

    Metal exists because it can provide something necessary for a lot of people that popular culture can’t, and it addresses issues that nobody else is addressing. Fuck, mental health *still* isn’t taken seriously in mainstream culture, but metal has been addressing these issues for *decades.* 90% of why Linkin Park is so popular, especially within their core audience, is because their lyrics discuss problems that nobody else takes seriously, so young people dealing with this shit all on their own don’t feel so goddamn alone when listening to their music, while their parents, teachers/councilors, and sometimes even their “friends” don’t take them seriously.

  10. HeippodeiPeippo

    The friendliest music festivals are metal festivals. The most arrested are usually at events aimed at middle aged and above. Completely opposite from what one would think. We have nice comparison nearby, rock festival and “tango” (local old peoples dance music and is not really tango but schlager….) held in same town, month apart. Police records show dozens of incidents of violence, so many drunkards that they have to haul them to neighboring towns. In the rock festival the same numbers are individual incidents and drunk tanks, while quite full, not overflowing. It is magnitude of order difference, multiplied.

    I organized live events for couple of decades and then toured a bit. Metal concerts are the best. By far. The crowd looks scary but are teddy bears. Middle aged and above are THE worst. Entitled, drunk aholes. Karens… “do you know who i am?” says the guy in a suit and vomit on his chest, shouting threats and demanding access to places they have no rights to be in. Will try to haggle on ticket prices, takes offense when you won’t do it. Gets violent. Is way, way too drunk. Metal crowd is totally different. Follows orders, doesn’t argue back, takes care of people near.. They blow out their steam in the pit and come out smiling. They say “thank you for making this thing happen” to the crew (note: this means HELL of a lot, so please, do it). The second worst crowd are HC punk teenagers.. But at least you can pick them up and put in a corner to think about what they did…

  11. m0nday1

    Let’s be honest, we all saw this coming with jazz.

    I mean, that many brass instruments… at some point, a saxophone becomes more than just a saxophone.

  12. WoolDroolPool

    Sweetie, it was just a little…improvisation!

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