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Gifted Children Find Heavy Metal Comforting 585

An anonymous reader writes "The Daily Telegraph is reporting that intelligent teenagers often listen to heavy metal music to cope with the pressures associated with being talented, according to research. Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent "metalheads" are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders."
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Gifted Children Find Heavy Metal Comforting

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  • Re:Punk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @08:51PM (#18437397)

    Other cynical parts of me want to say they are also smart enough to be able to recognize the top 40 drivel that is being disseminated by the recording industry.

    Really? Isn't most head bangin' heavy metal disseminated by the recording industry?

  • Yep. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @08:54PM (#18437423) Homepage
    It's entirely true. I first dug into Metallica and Black Sabbath when I was about 13, and I find myself hooked on Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, and Symphony X now.

    Hard rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal all usually talk about social and political issues in a manner that is both musical and lyrical, and it's a lot easier to dig into and associate with than the lamenting dorks that populate alternative and indie rock nowadays.
  • Also.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doddman ( 953998 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @08:56PM (#18437439)
    Consider that some heavy metal is very intellegent music. Sure, when most people hear "heavy metal" they think Slipknot, Korn, Marilyn Manson and the ilk, but I can get into some Iron Maiden (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is singularly the greatest metal song ever, and not only for it's music), Metallica (80's era) has some great political meaning, and Tool is fun to listen to and try to contemplate the possible meanings of the song. Or am I the only gifted nerd who thinks so?
  • by blu3 b0y ( 908852 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:07PM (#18437573)
    From TFA (emphasis mine):

    The researchers surveyed 1,057 members of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth - a body whose 120,000 student members are within the top five per cent academically in the 11-19 age range.

    Asked for their favourite type of music, 39 per cent said rock, 18 per cent R&B and 14 per cent pop. Six per cent said heavy metal and a third rated it in their top five genres.

    The heavy metal fans in the study had lower self-esteem and more difficulties in family relationships and friendships.

    So over six times as many gifted kids use rock music to cope with being S.M.R.T., and the heavy metal kids are more likely to have low self-esteem and difficulties with relationships.

    How the hell is this good news for teen metal fans or parents of same? If your kid likes metal, they might be a genius, but a maladjusted one with little confidence. Alternately, if your kids likes rock, they are 6.6 times more likely to be a genius.

    The summary is a true masterwork of spin and the Telegraph editors should be spanked for skewing the article so blatantly.

    Also, I had no idea percent was two words in British English...

  • by user24 ( 854467 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:09PM (#18437597)
    simple: to protect their ears, rock musicians often wear earplugs while playing.
    Evidently Metallica have been playing for so long that it's some time since they actually listened to their own music (as can be evidenced by a quick play of, say, S&M)
  • by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:09PM (#18437603) Homepage
    I suppose some of it might be that gifted children could have a degree of asperger's syndrome and aren't as able to relate to the oh-baby-baby emotive style of typical pop music.
  • by MisterCookie ( 991581 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:10PM (#18437609)
    Maybe they just like the music? I'm a member of the International Baccalaureate program and few of my peers have similar tastes in music. I waste my life listening to video game soundtracks, a few other members like classical, one likes techno. And for every smart kid who listens to heavy metal, there's fifty moronic ones that do the same. Only six percent of intelligent students like it and they act like its a massive majority.
  • by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:10PM (#18437615)
    If you show keenness or interest in a subject at school, you are already likely to be treated as an outsider. You don't have to be a genius to be an outcast. I think the pressure to conform to the "hive mind" at school is the thing that really holds children back.
  • Re:Punk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:23PM (#18437757) Journal
    A lot of punks are very intelligent people (in a very warped way geeks are punks in many ways, we tend to over lap and have a usually left wing mentality), but you have to remember punk as we it should be is rather dead. Punk got too mainstream to the point where it became pop music and all it stood for became "lets do drugs and break stuff!" in the current climate. These "neo punks" are little more than teeny boppers dressed up as something else, still looking for something to call their own and a scene where "no one cares what you are (cough how it used to be cough)" is the obvious place to settle.

    As for heavy metal being related to gifted children.. Hmm no. Because music is a personal thing and people will tend to enjoy what they are exposed to at a young age and leaves a lasting impression. So right now rap, girl bands, heavy metal (the pointless screaming type) and punk would be popular with children (0-12ish) in most cases. Where as back in my day (born 86) we had more dance music and retro stuff from the 70s and 80s still hanging around. Which would be very similar to my taste in music now.

    Plus children are fickle, if we gave them the entire catalog of music they would have a new favourite band/style every other day.
  • Re:"head bangers" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MindKata ( 957167 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:24PM (#18437765) Journal
    Unfortunately I think my head bangering days are over now ... too old :( ... but I think this reporter could also be a head banger?

    I found another article by him, which shows he has been watching (and knows) this same cultural group of people for some time and this article also explains (more than a few) rock chicks I've met over the years. :) 905 []
  • Marilyn Manson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScaryMonkey ( 886119 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:30PM (#18437819)
    As a side note, I've seen a couple interviews with Marilyn Manson and he comes across as surprisingly intelligent and well-spoken, even while still wearing the freaky makeup.
  • by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:30PM (#18437821)
    I know for absolute certain that the kids in *my* highschool that listened to heavy metal were most certainly not the best and the brightest. But that was back when bands like Metallica and Megadeth were at the top of the music charts, and Jerry Falwell and Tipper Gore were trying to make a political career out of the genre.

    I think that this article is more like "nerdy kids listen to music that isn't cool."
  • by ( 985038 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:34PM (#18437851)
    So, let me see...

    For the record, gifted children are not a monoculture. There are some gifted children who listen to heavy metal to deal with stress of being a teenager. Nice. There are also gifted children who don't listen to heavy metal, and heavy metal listeners that aren't gifted.
    But TFA says

    Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent "metalheads" are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders.
    So yes, many (not all) gifted children listen heavy metal... and there could be (are) gifted children who don't. Simply put: I didn't get what you tried to say. But I'm walking from reading your comment slightly less mentally gifted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:34PM (#18437853)
    When I was a teenager, the arch nemeses of the metalheads were the rappers. While we tripped out on acid listening to Rush and Sabbath... well fuck knows what the rappers were up to (probably crack and hos) but they sure hated us and we sure hated them.

    Granted, there has been some slightly more cerebral rap since the eighties, but for the most part rap is self aggrandizing crap. "I'm, so cool, the hos love me so, I kill you whitey..." etc, etc.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:37PM (#18437873)
    As soon as you label a kid as being gifted, you stop treating them as a kid. Poor behavior: "Oh, that's just gifted kids for you". Don't want to take out the trash: "He really shouldn't be wasting his talents". There seems to be a complete obsession with labelling people to get status or to excuse behavior. Worst is when the kids are told that they are gifted: they soon learn to use this as a manipulative tool: "I need to do $FUN_ACTIVITY to expand my experiences. $CHORE crushes me".

    Most kids are gifted one way or another, some academically, some otherwise. Just most kids don't experience the environments that bring the best out of the kids.

  • Re:It's so true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:38PM (#18437877)
    Jokes aside, I've loved metal, punk, thrash, etc. since I first heard it. Oddly enough I love classical music too

    Motorhead *is* classical music.

    Seriously... metal of all types is a natural offshoot of western classical music as punk is of folk music.

    Compare Jake Thackray and the Sex Pistols. They even sing about the same things. Almost.
  • by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:51PM (#18437991)
    ...when I got my 'gifted' label. It was all about "Why the HELL are you smoking dope and making strangled cat sounds with the guitar when you are flunking out of high school? You're shoud be EASY for you! Now do your goddam homework!"

  • by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:56PM (#18438029)
    Right. I'm pretty sure preference in music is just a matter of taste (or lack thereof). People have been telling me that I'm clever for as long as I can remember, and I think metal is at best silly and at worst pathetic. My favourite band is Sonic Youth. However, at school I used to hang out with a bunch of other very intelligent people who were similarly ostracised for being good in class. Our group of friends spanned a wide range of musical tastes including classical, hip-hop/r&b, experimental, classic rock, metal, hardcore, electronica, britpop/indie...

    Basically, we all had remarkably different tastes and I would really be very surprised if there was any significant and meaningful correlation between taste in music and intelligence.
  • Re:Punk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:01PM (#18438089)
    Yeah, punk died in 1979. Watch me as a I roll my eyes ;) Have you considered, perhaps it that was just you, dying a little inside? ;)
  • Re:Punk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:03PM (#18438107) Journal
    Heavy metal and punk both have two characteristics that could easily appeal to gifted kids. There is a rejection of the mainstream average(you-don't-understand-me) and an inclusion in a brotherhood of "different-but-better". This misunderstood elite is obviously going to appeal to kids that are bored in class and frequently ostricized because of thier intelligence. Why do you think "news for nerds" is a source of pride for /.ers ?
  • by Khan ( 19367 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:04PM (#18438113)
    For me, Heavy Metal is a way to sooth my anger. The angrier the music (NIN, SoAD, Slipknot, etc.) the quicker I come down from being pissed off. And hey, it's cheaper than therapy :-D
  • Re:Punk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AcidArrow ( 912947 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:07PM (#18438155)

    Linking music tastes and intelligence is really, really, wrong. What kind of music you like depends on so many factors, mostly environmental but... anyway.

    Let's take a look at the article:

    Mr Cadwallader then held an online discussion involving 19 members of the academy, 17 of whom were heavy metal fans.
    Translation: Some psychologist asked some kids what kind of music they liked and they answered heavy metal. Oh and they also weren't complete idiots.
    Since the sample was so big (almost 20 people!), obviously all "gifted" (definition?) children must listen to heavy metal. But since most of heavy metal is crap, he couldn't help but wonder why did these kids listen to this kind of crap.

    One student said: "It helps me with stress. It's the general thrashiness of it. You can't really jump your anger into the floor and listen to your music at the same time with other types of music."
    Ah! That makes sense, because smart people worry about society and stuff. The psychologist thought that his findings were so great he had to share them with the rest of the world, but he needed some statistics, so on his way home he asked some more kids about what kind of music they liked so he can make useless statistics that help make a research look all that much more professional:

    The researchers surveyed 1,057 members of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth - a body whose 120,000 student members are within the top five per cent academically in the 11-19 age range. Asked for their favourite type of music, 39 per cent said rock, 18 per cent R&B and 14 per cent pop. Six per cent said heavy metal and a third rated it in their top five genres.
    Okay so he found that from a group of supposedly smart kids (although I'm not sure that academia equals intelligence), SIX percent really likes bands like tool, slipknot and system of a down (which are very popular bands anyway) and about one third said "tool? they're cool, I used to listen to aenima a lot". Did that miniscule percentage surprise him that much that he had to go and tell the world?
  • Academic ability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:12PM (#18438223)
    Did anyone else roll their eyes at academic ability? I admit Britain might be different but I can't say as I've ever seen anything that convinces me academic ability makes someone smart or that lack of it makes them dumb. In fact I've always considered excessive willingness to engage in a system that amounts to government funded daycare as a sign that the other person might lack intelligence.
  • by arlo5724 ( 172574 ) <(jacobw56) (at) (> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:12PM (#18438225)
    Same here, I certainly never got to use it as an excuse. I think I would have had my ass kicked if I had.

    In my experience kids who use labels to manipulate their parents only do so because they are allowed to, the parents tend to be push-overs.
  • Re:Yep. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:13PM (#18438231) Journal
    Yeah, its too bad that Metallica sold out. Most of my friends though the black album sucked. I thought the black album was good but that they should have released it under a different name since it wasn't proper Metallica. Everything that came after the black album has been shit, regardless of what name you stick on the label.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:17PM (#18438269) Journal
    Metallica circa 90's is a different fan-base then Metallica circa 80's. The black album and everything thereafter fails to be Metal. The black album was still good, just not Metallica. Everything after the black album is simply shit.
  • Re:Punk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anaesthetica ( 596507 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:30PM (#18438381) Homepage Journal

    in a very warped way geeks are punks in many ways, we tend to over lap and have a usually left wing mentality

    I think this may reflect you reading your own political position into punk/geek culture more than anything else. Geeks and Punks share a kind of anti-authoritarianism that doesn't map well into the (mostly bullshit) left-right political spectrum. Geek libertarianism and Punk DIY-anarchism fit parts of the left and parts of the right. Matching the left, they care about solidarity, anti-corporatism, and socio-cultural liberty. Matching the right, they care about negative freedoms (small, limited government as opposed to the nanny state) and "rugged individualism."

  • Re:Punk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dank zappingly ( 975064 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:37PM (#18438447)
    Damn, thanks for the information about punk rock. And to think, a true punk like yourself managed to stop thrashing long enough to sign on to Slashdot "News for Nerds" and tell all of us. Get over yourself. The only punk that died in 1979 was Sid Vicious.
  • Re:RTFA, baby. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hobo sapiens ( 893427 ) <TEA minus caffeine> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:53PM (#18438575) Journal

    I mean, hey anyone can tap their foot to an R&B song because they all have a beat... and nothing else.

    Aw cmon, now. That's just like the R&B kids calling heavy metal "crazy devil music". There is some good R&B out there just like there's some good metal. What you said is just as ridiculous as the guy above who said punk was dead.
  • Re:It's so true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <kamil@kamilkisie ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:02PM (#18438651)
    Metal music often uses similar scales (harmonic minor is very popular..) as much of what most people think of as "classical music". Many of the movements and progressions are also very similar.

    Some don't even try to hide it, for example "Classical Metal" like some of the works of Yngwie Malmsteen...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:22PM (#18438789)

    Oh please! Can't we get an article about gifted children or aspergers or something like that without someone making a stupid lowest common denominator post like this? Yes. I'm sure the things you have stated in your post happen. It is stupid, it shouldn't happen, but it does. The problem is, it has nothing to do with the article. Do you really find it so hard to believe that there are smart kids who find life stressful because they don't fit in, so they listen to heavy metal music?

    There really are people out there who think that kids who are called "gifted" are just spoiled brats, and that people with asperger syndrome are just shy and need to get out more. Simply because some spoiled brats get called gifted or because some nerds falsely claim to have aspergers. Posts like yours just add to that, without bringing anything useful. Just the same obvious "damn I'm such a rebel for pointing this out" obvious boilerplate post.

    P.S. The title for your post is "Labels are bad news". Believe it or not, all words are labels. Do you think words are bad? Just because using a single word like "gifted" doesn't perfectly describe something as complex as a person? This whole anti-label thing is idiotic. Just speak in complete sentences and you fill find that words/labels work to convey a point of view, even if they don't carry enough meaning one at a time. Imagine that!

  • Re:Punk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darby ( 84953 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:32PM (#18438861)
    When the hell was the right wing about small governments? The right Wing has majorly changed in the last 5-6 years.. O.o

    Never. The right and the left are both in favor of big government since they're defined by how they like to use that big government against the people.
    The left to enforce their ideas of equality and the right to enforce their ideas of inequality or elitism.
    The right hasn't changed since the term came into being when the nobility and the Church sat on the right hand side of the aisle in the French assembly and the representatives of the commoners sat on the left.

    What's changed is, in America, the left subverted the term Liberal and the right attacked it outright in order to destroy the idea. That's why hardly anybody in this country can even discuss politics without sounding ignorant since they don't even have the vocabulary for it. They think Republican == right and Democrat == left even when they both support policies on either side. What neither of them support is Liberalism, i.e. the philosophy of individual liberty. In fact, there is nothing they fear and despise more.

  • Re:RTFA, baby. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Woldry ( 928749 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:37PM (#18438915) Journal
    You're not that far off. Mozart was the heavy metal of his day.
  • by ArgusSmith ( 1071760 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:42PM (#18438953)
    'Correlation does not imply causation.'

    Ah, but without taking that assumption, most statistical data is meaningless, which could put a whole bunch of "researchers" out of work. "Correlation, causation, they're both big words that start with 'C', they're practically the same, let's just assume they are!"
  • Re:Punk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @04:05AM (#18440391)
    Why do you think "news for nerds" is a source of pride for /.ers ?

    Actually I'm ashamed I go back here and read Slashdot, but I'm addicted to posting comments clarifying the BS posing as articles. It's a trap. For reals.
  • Re:Punk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jejones ( 115979 ) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @06:30AM (#18440995) Journal
    In a bizarre way, that common description of libertarianism is sort of like accepting "grue" and "bleen" [] as fundamental terms. Wouldn't it be better to describe the right and left as supporting liberty to varying extents and in different areas?
  • by cexshun ( 770970 ) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:52AM (#18443245) Homepage

    Another factor that may cause "gifted" individuals to listen to metal is the complexity and technicality. If you break down metal music, you'll find that it's much more "musical" then any modern bands. Bands such as Slayer, Amon Amarth, Nile, Testament, and Kreator play with such precision and technical perfection. Anyone who has taken music theory can easily see that this genre is superior to most modern pop. While the growling lyrics may be intimidating to many, there are metal bands out there that combine the brutal and technical musical style with epic and melodic vocals. Examples would be Falconer, Ensiferium, Sonata Arctica, and Iced Earth. In fact, the lead singer of Falconer is actually a Shakespearian actor and has played the leading role in many Broadway style musicals.

    Of course, unless you consider the nu-metal(pop metal) bands like Slipknot that crank as much overdrive as they can into the amp and bang incoherently on their guitars. They give "metal" a band wrap.

  • Re:Punk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by confusednoise ( 596236 ) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:01AM (#18443405)
    Strictly speaking then, we don't count the following bands as being punk:

    The Ramones
    The Clash
    Sex Pistols
    The Stooges

    All released on major labels (therefore RIAA)....lots and lots more, but I'm lazy. The whole "sell out" label that holier than thou types throw around with abandon really annoys the piss out of me.
  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:11AM (#18443563)
    I think it is more the younger members of the slashdot crowd. The term "gifted" used to be used far more sparingly. These days, anybody who can ace a standardized test in spite of having bad teachers is labeled "gifted". It is reasonable that a larger proportion of slashdotters would qualify as "gifted" than in the population at large.

    However, the proportion of slashdotters who qualify as "highly gifted" or better in the precise medical sense (ie having an IQ of at least 145) is still very small.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly