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Effects of Listening to Heavy Metal Music on College Women: A Pilot Study
College Student Journal
  • Milton E. Becknell, Cedarville University
  • Michael W. Firmin, Cedarville University
  • Hwang Chi-en, Cedarville University
  • David M. Fleetwood
  • Kristie L. Tate
  • Gregory D. Schwab
Document Type
Publication Date
College students are typically very identified with popular music and spend many hours listening to their music of preference. To investigate the effects of heavy metal music, we compared the responses of 18 female undergraduate college students to a baseline silence condition (A) and a heavy metal music condition (B). Dependent measures included: heart rate, body temperature, electrodermal activity (sweating), and facial muscle tension (frontalis and masseter muscles). Results indicated that exposure to heavy metal music was associated with physiological reactivity but significant differences between the silence and music conditions were limited to the masseter muscles during initial exposure to the music condition. There were also significant differences between the first and second music conditions for both masseter and frontalis muscles. Both these findings have important implications for college students, especially the potentially unhealthy effects that appear to be associated with heavy metal music in some listeners.
  • Music,
  • heavy metal,
  • college women
Citation Information

Becknell, M., Firmin, M., Hwang, C., Fleetwood, D., Tate, K., & Schwab, G., (2008). Measuring the physiological effects of heavy metal music using electromyographic biofeedback: A pilot study. College Student Journal, 42, 24-35.