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Moye Balogun
Professor Malcolm Campbell
English 1103
9/28/2015
Topic Proposal: The Musical Mind
Introduction/Overview
If you ask a wild variety of people, from all walks of life, what their favorite hobbies are,
theyll likely comprise a diverse list of fun, engaging activities. Amongst these activities, there
will likely be one common factor that will always weasel its way in: listening to music. This
popular pastime holds such an interesting place in the social interactions of todays individuals
and possibly also in the collective minds.
For decades there has been a stigma against Metal music and its listeners. Claims of
encouraging violence and mania have been floating around the subconscious of many concerned
onlookers for years. I want to know whether these fears are rightly felt. In todays society, there
is an alarming number of poor mental health sufferers and according to cultureandyouth.org,
adolescent suicidality is at an all-time high. Due to this, many have turned an eye to the popular
genre of metal music, whose lyrics seem to perpetuate several negative and unhealthy ideals.
In Leah Sherman and Genevieve A. Dingles book, Extreme Metal Music and Anger
Processing, they strive to analyze whether extreme music helps or hinders with the procession
of anger. Despite popular belief, these claims have not yet been supported by scientific study.
The Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) however, does show that following anger
induction, heavy metal music maintains anger levels while other genres decreases it.

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On the other hand, in a French study that evaluated Metal music listeners on the Hospital
Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS), there was evidence that showed a group of listeners levels
of anxiety and depression are similar to and lower than levels in the general population.
As you can see, there is currently no clear cut confirmation on metal musics effects, or
any other genre for that matter. However, additional exploration will hopefully support one claim
over the other.

Initial Inquiry Question(s)


Why is this one art form (music) such a central part of our lives?
What effect does heavy metal music have on ones mental health?
Does listening to music such as metal increase ones risk and susceptibility to issues such as
anxiety and depression?
Are teens more prone to suffer from musics negative mental health effects (assuming there are
some) than adults?
Is the culture surrounding pop music having a negative impact on the diligence of students?
What music genres encourage creativity the most?

My Interest in this Topic


My interest in this topic begins with my enjoyment of music. Whether it is to do with
creating music or listening to music, it is one of my favorite pastimes. Over the course of my life,
I have taken guitar lessons, sang in choirs, and taught myself how to play the piano. Due to this,
music has been an active part of my life. Whether it is or isnt as in depth as mine, basic social
interactions have shown me that music is a significant part of others lives as well. I also have a
shallow interest in psychology. Being a Tumblr blogger has exposed me to many mental
disorders that I previously had never heard of. Since the site is dominated by teens, I see, first
hand, the problems many are struggling with. Despite the fact that a social media site doesnt

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provide the most dependable information, I will use my basic interest to further fuel my research.
Im hoping that this extended inquiry project will open me up to the intricacies of common music
genres and the human psyche.

Next Steps
For my research on this topic, I will be going through UNC Charlottes library database
for articles and books that can provide me with more citable material for my inquiry project. I
will also rely on websites such as ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (National Center for Biotechnology
Information) and cultureandyouth.org. I have already found articles related to my topic from both
of these reliable sites and I plan to conduct further research on them. Furthermore, I will likely
turn to Wikipedia for some basic information about my subject and hopefully, some links to a
few trustworthy sources.