Listening To Metal Makes People Work Faster!
That's what I took away from this recent study by BPS Research. To be fair, that's not what they were testing for. They wanted to see if listening to music you like makes you work faster or slower. Ultimately, the research found if you listen to music you enjoy, you concentrate less than if you are listening to music you do not like. The one problem is, they asked fans of pop music. Here's a quote from the study:
Twenty-five undergrads completed several serial recall tasks. They were presented with strings of eight consonants and had to repeat them back from memory in the correct order. Performance was best in the quiet condition, but the key finding was that particiants' performance was worse when they completed the memory task with a song they liked playing over headphones (Infernal's "From Paris to Berlin"), compared with a song they disliked (songs such as "Acid Bath" from the grind core metal band Repulsion). In case you're wondering, participants who liked Repulsion were excluded from the study.
The fast-tempo "extreme guitar-based" music of Repulsion, the researchers explained, is like "a cacophony of sound, in which the segmentation of each individual sound from the next is difficult to identify". This means it has less acoustic variation from one moment to the next, which helps explain why, even though disliked, it had a less detrimental effect on serial recall than Infernal's pop song.
I completely do not understand why they couldn't let the fans of Repulsion compete in this survey. I would be interested to see which musical conditions they work better with. I'd like to argue that they would work better with Repulsion on than the latest Taylor Swift song. The "cacophony of sound" is what makes the person work faster, metalhead or not! Argue your thoughts in the comments, and watch this live footage of Repulsion playing "Acid Bath"!