A recent study has posited that listening to heavy metal is actually good for the mental health of fans of the genre. The results fly in the face of past thinking that caused a moral panic around the music, often focused on accusations of devil worship or illicit sex that aligned metal music with plummeting mental health.

But although non-fans have been shown in past research to experience greater anxiety after listening to metal, professor Nick Perham — a metalhead with a PhD in psychology — theorized in June for The Conversation that listeners more attuned to metal's extremes experience a mental benefit in how they handle anger.

"Despite the often violent lyrical content in some heavy metal songs, recently published research has shown that fans do not become sensitized to violence, which casts doubt on the previously assumed negative effects of long-term exposure to such music," the researcher wrote. "Indeed, studies have shown long-terms fans were happier in their youth and better adjusted in middle age compared to their non-fan counterparts."

Perham continued, "Another finding that fans who were made angry and then listened to heavy metal music did not increase their anger but increased their positive emotions suggests that listening to extreme music represents a healthy and functional way of processing anger."

But perhaps the most astounding postulation in the paper is that certain authorities' opposition to metal can actually help the minds of metalheads by giving them the tools to argue their position logically.

"Heavy metal can promote scientific thinking but alas not just by listening to it," he said. "Educators can promote scientific thinking by posing claims such as listening to certain genres of music is associated with violent thinking. By examining the aforementioned accusations of violence and offense — which involved world-famous artists like Cradle of Filth, Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson — students can engage in scientific thinking, exploring logical fallacies, research design issues and thinking biases."

Talk about a wake-up call for metal lovers. Next time someone accuses your favorite music of being violent or angry, perhaps you could enlighten them with Perham's theory that it helps control anger and promotes critical reasoning in fans. In fact, the professor's study was just published again this week in Neuroscience News.

Looks like Quiet Riot were right the whole time.

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