Richard G. Petty, MD

Heavy Metal and Clever Teenagers

You humble reporter loves music: anything from Mozart to Metallica.

She Who Must Be Obeyed is one of many people who has wondered at my enthusiasm for bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica. Was I, perhaps, dropped on my head as a child?

I was gratified to see a report of a study that was presented at a recent meeting of the British Psychological Society in York, indicating that intelligent teenagers often listen to heavy metal music to cope with the pressures associated with being talented.

Though sadly your humble reporter is no longer a teenager, the seeds of his enthusiasm for this kind of music were sown many years ago.

Stuart Cadwallader and Professor Jim Campbell of The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at the University of Warwick looked at 1,057 students
aged between 11 and 18 years old who completed a survey asking them
about family, school attitudes, leisure time pursuits and media
preferences. They also asked them to rank favored genres of music.

They found that rock was the most popular form of music, closely followed by pop.

Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent “metalheads” are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders.

Stuart Cadwallader has this to say,

“There is a perception of gifted and talented students as being into classical music and spending a lot of time reading. I think that is an inaccurate stereotype. There is literature that links heavy metal to poor academic performance and delinquency but we found a group that contradicts that… Participants said they appreciated the complex and sometimes political themes of heavy metal music more than perhaps the average pop song. It has a tendency to worry adults a bit but I think it is just a cathartic thing. It does not indicate problems.”

There was something about the metal heads having lower self-esteem and more difficulties in family relationships, but your humble reporter isn’t too sure about that bit….

But here’s the important thing: all things in moderation. A lot of loud heavy metal music may not be good for your health. The data is anecdotal, and comes from sources like the Emoto experiments with water crystals, that have still not been replicated.

But as a rule of thumb, some occasional loud music probably never hurt anyone unless they turned up the volume too high. Listening to it all day long could be damaging to your health.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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