Teenagers who lock themselves in their bedrooms to blast out heavy metal music may simply be trying to cope with the pressures of being gifted, according to British research reported Wednesday.
The study said that teenagers often work off the stresses and strains of being a bright outsider by listening to bands such as System Of A Down, Slipknot and Tool.
Researchers questioned more than 1,000 members of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, whose members rank among the brightest five percent of youngsters in Britain. "There is a perception of gifted and talented students as being into classical music and spending a lot of time reading. "I think that is an inaccurate stereotype,"
Stuart Cadwallader, a University of Warwick psychologist who is presenting the findings to the British Psychological Society Wednesday, told the Daily Telegraph. "We are looking at a group with lower than average self-esteem that does not feel quite as well adjusted. "They feel more stressed out and turn to heavy metal as a way of relieving that stress."
Cadwallader added that heavy metal fans often appreciate the "complex and sometimes political themes" of the music. "It has a tendency to worry adults a bit but I think it's just a cathartic thing," he said. "It does not indicate problems." Many of heavy metal's biggest stars are closet geeks -- Brian May, guitarist with Queen, is currently finishing a doctorate in astrophysics, while Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson is a history graduate, international fencer and qualified commercial pilot.