A recent University of Westminster study focusing on metal fans profiled the metallers crowd, noting that metal aficionados tend to be more open-minded, have lower self-esteem, a greater need for being unique, as well as a negative stance towards authority and lower religiosity.
Led by psychologist Viren Swami
, the team tested 414 British individuals (219 females and 195 males) aged between 18 and 57, asking them to rate 10 metal songs.
"Our results confirm previous reports that openness is associated with a preference for rock and heavy metal, including non-mainstream subgenres,"
study summary reads (via Blabbermouth
). "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's 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."
The researchers further note, "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 anti-authority 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."
Finally, the report adds that "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."
So does the given summary properly describe a metal fan? Let us know in the comments.