It’s official: Listening to death metal won’t desensitise you.
As BBC reports, results from a psychological test at Sydney’s Macquarie University show that fans of the genre aren’t any more likely to commit acts of violence than others.
The study saw 32 death metal fans and 48 non-fans listen to Bloodbath’s “cannibalism-themed track” Eaten and Pharrell Williams’ Happy while being exposed to unpleasant images.
Participants were played one of those two songs via headphone while being shown separate images in each eye – something violent alongside something neutral – with researches seeing which one the subject was drawn too.
Most people would be drawn to the violent image, while those who may have been desensitised wouldn’t have a particular bias.
“[Death metal] fans showed the very same bias towards processing these violent images as those who were not fans of this music,” lead researcher Yanan Sun said.
Macquarie University Bill Thompson said “the dominant emotional response to this music is joy and empowerment”.
So, if you’re riding a high this week after attending Download Australia or one of its accompanying sideshows, that might be why.
The study is part of a decades-long investigation into the emotional effects of music.