We've written about a few interesting sociological studies, like studies that show metal makes you happy, loud music makes you want to be intoxicated, and emo haircuts aka the cry-sheild will give you lazy eye, but this one takes the cake. Are you ready to basically read all about yourself? Or get really butthurt?
A study done by psychologist Viren Swami of the University of Westminster in London, England, found that metal fans have a pretty open attitude toward new experiences, more negative attitudes toward authority, generally low self-esteem, the need to be unique and a much lower religious attitude than fans of other music. According to Blabbermouth:
219 women and 195 men ranging in age from 18 to 57 years participated in the study, which examined associations between individual differences and preferences for a specific subgenre of music, namely, contemporary heavy metal.
[Swami] presented the 414 individuals from Britain with clips of 10 tracks of contemporary heavy metal and asked them to rate each for liking (from "extreme dislike" to "extreme like"). Participants also completed measures of the Big Five personality traits, attitudes toward authority, self-esteem, need for uniqueness, and religiosity.
The research reads:
"Our results confirm previous reports that openness is associated with a preference for rock and heavy metal, including nonmainstream subgenres. In explanation, it has been suggested that individuals who score highly on openness show a preference for the intensity, variety, complexity, and unconventionality of heavy metal. [It has also been suggested] that individuals who are open-minded and who seek novel experiences may become disinterested in mainstream or conventional musical forms as they grow older. This, in turn, may lead them to seek out musical genres that are unconventional by the standards of mainstream cultures, such as contemporary heavy metal.
"Our results also showed that individuals with more negative attitudes toward institutional authority were more likely to show a preference for the heavy metal tracks. In general, this is consistent with [the] description of heavy metal fans as inhabiting a subculture of alienation, which translates into an opposition to authority and mainstream society… It is possible, for example, that heavy metal may conjure referent images that are inherently antiauthority or that signal a revolt against mainstream culture. In this sense, individuals who hold more negative attitudes toward authority may show a preference for heavy metal precisely because it expresses their dissatisfaction with authority.
"Respondents who showed a stronger preference for the metal tracks in the present study were also more likely to have lower self-esteem and higher need for uniqueness. In the first instance, it is possible that individuals with relatively low self-esteem are drawn to heavy metal because the style of music allows for a purge of negative feelings. The catharsis afforded by heavy metal may, in turn, help boost self-worth and promote positive self-evaluations among those with otherwise low self-esteem."
Are you the typical metal fan, according to the study? Check out our previous reports on psychological studies of metalheads.