The study, which was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, involved 39 regular listeners of extreme music whose ages ranged from 18 to 34 years old. These people listened to heavy metal, punk rock, screamo, or hardcore music, and had to have listened to these types of music at least 50 percent of the time they put a music player on. The study found that extreme music fans listened to these genres to experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger, in order to calm themselves down. The music’s energy was able to match their anger, but also enhance positive emotions, making the subject feel more “active and inspired.”
The participants were subjected to an “anger induction” period, which was essentially an interview to induce stress. The 16-minute-long interview involved the participants describing one or more events that evoked feelings of anger. To increase anger, the participants were provoked by a list of topics ranging from significant others to finances. Then, they were given the option to listen to extreme music from a playlist of their choice, or to just sit in silence for 10 minutes.