Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Another Negative Heavy Metal Study...

So another day another study into heavy metal music that portrays the music in a negative light.
Dr Katrina McFerran of Melbourne University completed a study that concluded amongst other things that “Young people at risk of depression are more likely to listen habitually and repetitively to heavy metal music” McFerran asserts that most young people listen to music in a positive way, whereas young people at risk of depression are more likely to listen to music, especially heavy metal music, in a negative way.

Ok hold it right there!

My first issue with this study is both the assumption that there is a positive and negative way of listening to music and secondly that the definition used in this study can be categorically applied to an entire population. So what was one example suggested as positive and negative... positive was to block out crowds and negative to isolate yourself. Now my A-Level in psychology probably doesn’t qualify me to judge this but if you are blocking out a crowd are you not isolating yourself and therefore can they really be distinct categories?

McFerran also concludes that a negative way of listening to music is to listen to the same heavy metal album/song excluding everything else. Ok so I am partially onboard with this we have all at some point bought a new album/re-discovered an old album and listened to it solidly for a period of time but it probably isn’t healthy to do this on a long term basis, but, and this is a big but for her conclusion, would this not be the same for any type of music? Pop? Hip-hop? Rap? Cliff Richard?

At no point in any of this study does a positive interpretation of the correlation presented between heavy metal music and depression get given any face time, thinking back to my younger years and those of others I have spoken to, perhaps listening to heavy metal music has benefits for young people at risk of depression, angst ridden themes may serve to reassure people they are not alone in what they are feeling and being part of a heavy metal community can give some sense of grounding and belonging for people who may otherwise feel they don’t fit into mainstream society... but what do I know I’m not a doctor! Perhaps it’s time to start focusing on what is happening to these young people in their lives to make them feel that way rather than the current album playing on their ipod!

All information on the study taken from the University ofMelbourne Website

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