Heavy metal music has been a source of criticism ever since its` birth in the late nineteen eighties. Its` controversial lyrics and harsh sound have made it the target of much blame for psychological and behavioral problems in teenagers. Heavy metal music has also been a source of perpetual worry for parents whose children listen to the music. At the same time, the listeners and fans of heavy metal say that the music helps them deal with their problems. In the wake of several school shootings in which the teenagers accused of the aggression have been found to be fans of heavy metal, much attention has been directed to the effects of the music on its listeners. This topic is of much importance in directly relating heavy metal music to aggression of any kind.
A number of studies have been conducted on this topic, some of which include focuses such as, people`s response to music in general, aggression and music, the processing of heavy metal lyrics, heavy metal and its effect on mood, and response to violence in the environment.
Music and its effects on mood are experienced everyday by millions of people. In Radcoy and Boyle (1997), physiological and mood responses to different types of music were studied. It was determined that music could possibly elicit any variety of feelings in its listeners: happiness, sadness, relaxation, frustration, and even aggression. These feelings are without question, conjured up from the individual`s previous experience with the music, or the lyrics presented in the music. Therefore an individual`s response to music is not just a product of the music itself, but of associations with the music. According to Radcoy and Boyle (1997), there is no question that songs with themes such as social reform, religion or even love mean something to its` listeners, therefore eliciting an affective response. Heavy metal music causing aggression then is not implausible according to Radcoy and