Music therapy is quickly gaining popularity and might become the ultimate cure for most mental disorders. To study the effects that music can have on the brain, three Finnish Universities conducted a study to find just how much music can effect the brain. It is to be noted that Finnish people love Heavy Metal, which is considered by many to be aggressive and loud.
Heavy Metal has been the center of controversy for many years. Many consider the genre to be the word of Satanists and drug abusers that transmit their negative vibes through their music to their listeners, though this is a gross generalization. So what did the Universities actually do? Researches from Jyväskylä, Helsinki and Aalto were responsible for this study and they now have strong evidence to prove that music can cause long term effects on the emotions of a person.
Connection with Finland
The universities also wanted to figure out whether people of a certain nature are drawn towards a certain genre/category of music. Is it true that aggressive people like aggressive music or they prefer it over other music types?
While it is true that listening to music that matches your emotions or current state of mind will enhance the emotion or make it stronger, it is not necessarily true that a person chooses to listen to a certain type based on his/her nature. Your music preferences mainly depend on what you are feeling at that time or the love you have for the lyrics, rhythm, beat or instruments. That is why most people in Finland cannot be considered aggressive just because they listen to heavy metal. Finnish people simply like heavy metal and that is the reason for its popularity there.
There have been many studies similar to this one that have been conducted in the past, but most of them have failed. The reason according to many is because the studies were too broad as they were restricted to one particular genre. This study was looking at music as a whole package. So what happens when you give random people this package? Will it affect their brain?
123 participants took part in this study in the Helsinki area, of which 68 were females and 55 were males -all between the age of 18 and 55. Before the study, the participants were given psychological tests that would determine their state of mind. They were then subjected to music listening sessions.
They listened to soundtracks taken from movies. Each soundtrack represented a different emotion, like sadness, happiness and fear. After the listening sessions, the participants were given psychological tests and placed under magnetic resonance.
The results showed that the neural responses and behavior in the male participants were affected by the music. Most of them showed increased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Since most participants did show change in behavior after the listening sessions, it can be concluded that music indeed has effects on the brain. Of course, the study was to test music as a whole and what that particular piece of music represents. The suggested implications are obvious for those suffering from depression, as a general dose of happy music could stimulate positive and happier thoughts in the affected. Of course, if you feel like a racing or kick boxing, then you may want to dust off the heavy metal!