New Study Finds Death Metal Music Doesn’t Inspire Violenceadmin
Despite the common misconception, Death metal – a subgenre of heavy metal music with a strong, graphic emphasis on violence – often gets a bad rap, becoming the target of parents, religious groups and censorship boards, who claim that this type of music desensitize listeners to violence. A new study recently published in the Royal Society journal Open Science has proven that this theory is, in fact, false.
This study, which is the latest part of a decades-long investigation by Professor Bill Thompson and his colleagues at Macquarie University’s music lab into the emotional effects of music, monitored the brain activity of 80 people; 32 death metals fans and 48 controls. The researchers played two different songs for the participants; Eaten by Bloodbath and Happy by Pharrell Williams. While the music was playing, the subjects were shown one violent and one non-violent image simultaneously. “The idea here is based on something called binocular rivalry, aka the notion that when we are shown a neutral image in one eye and a violent image in the other, we focus on the violent image (ie the threat) more intensely,” Rosie McCall writes.
“If fans of violent music were desensitized to violence…then they wouldn’t show this same bias,” Professor Thompson said. “But the fans showed the very same bias towards processing these violent images as those who were not fans of this music.”
Thompson notes that there is still a large concern that violence in media leads to social problems and violence, and while some research has found individuals who play a lot of violent video games may experience a desensitization to violence, the same is not true of music.