Altered States of Mind thru Heavy Metal?

Wissenschaftler haben angeblich abweichende Neuro-Muster bei Metalheads festgestellt, als sie deren MRI-Scans mit denen von Klassik-Liebhabern verglichen. Paper: Altered resting-state functional connectivity of default-mode network and sensorimotor network in heavy metal music lovers.

HMML showed functional alterations: higher fALFF in the right precentral gyrus, the bilateral paracentral lobule, and the left middle occipital gyrus, lower fALFF in the left medial superior frontal gyrus, an altered FC in the default-mode network, lower connectivity between the right precentral gyrus and the left cerebellum-6 and the right cerebellum-3, and an altered FC between the left paracentral lobule and the sensorimotor network, lower in the right paracentral lobule and the right inferior temporal gyrus FC. The results may partly explain the disorders of behavioral and emotional cognition in HMML compared with CML and are consistent with our predictions.

Zum Glück aber ist die Studie wohl Bullshit, findet zumindest Neuroskeptic: The Heavy Metal Brain:

Researchers Yan Sun and colleagues scanned 40 self-reported metal fans and a comparison group of 31 classical music lovers. fMRI was used to record brain activity in the resting state – “participants were instructed to relax, keep their eyes closed, stay awake, and avoid active thinking activities.”

Some differences between the metal- and classical-loving brains were found, e.g. as shown in this image (the color doesn’t seem to have come out properly):

Various brain areas were more or less active, or more or less functionally correlated with each other, in the metal fans. But what do these differences mean? This is where it all gets a bit silly.

Sun et al. come up with explanations for how each neural difference relates to liking metal. For example, regarding a brain area called the PreCG, which was more active in metal fans:

PreCG is mainly responsible for the movement of the tongue [14]. Compared with classical fans, metal fans are more willing to sing and the movement of the tongue will change [3], which may affect the PreCG.

Recall that the participants were resting, not singing or listening to music, during the scan. Bear in mind also that although the PreCG does indeed control the tongue, it controls the entire body as well.