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Investigating cognitive, emotional, and social functions of violent music for its fans

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:17 authored by Merrick Powell
The majority of research investigating violent music has primarily focused on negative outcomes evoked in non - fan populations, calling into question the ecological validity of such research. The present study focused on fans of two genres of violent music, violent heavy/death metal and violent rap, and investigated: (1) the cognitive, emotional, and social functions these genres serve for their fans; (2) short - term emotional responses after listening to violent music; and (3) the capacity for fans' passion (harmonious vs. obsessive) and psychopathology (depression, anxiety , stress ) to explain within - group differences in positive/negative outcomes. Fans of violent heavy/death metal music ( N = 46), violent rap music ( N = 49), and a comparison fan group of non - violent classical music ( N = 50) completed an online questionnaire pertaining to their preferred genre. Participants completed surveys measuring music functions, music in mood regulation, passion for music, and psychopathology. They then listened to music excerpts of their preferred genre , reporting their emotional and affective responses. Whilst both groups of violent music fans reported mostly similar cognitive, emotional, and social functions of music to classical music fans, both violent fan groups reported significantly less positive and more negative emotional responses than classical music fans. Harmonious a n d obsessive passion significantly predicted some functional uses of music and some positive and negative emotional outcomes in all groups , al though so me findings were varie d . Finally, psychopathology was significantly positively associated with negative emotional outcomes in all three groups. Specifically , depression was associated with negative outcomes for heavy/death metal fans, whereas anxiety was associated with negative outcomes for violent rap fans. These results show that violent music is used for a range of functions, and that those functions differ depending on fans' specific kind of passion and their current feelings of depression and anxiety. The cognitive, emotional, and social impact that violent music may have on society is discussed.


Table of Contents

[1] Investigating cognitive, emotional, and social functions of violent music for its fans -- 2 Method -- 3 Results -- 4 Discussion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 71-84

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

William Forde Thompson

Additional Supervisor 1

Kirk Olsen


Copyright Merrick Powell 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




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