Science Says Heavy Metal Will Make You Better At Your Job

Before you ask your boss for a raise or that cute colleague on a date, you may want to turn up the bass.

According to a new study led by Northwestern professor Dennis Y. Hsu, bass-heavy music can make you more confident.

“The effect of music appears to manifest itself not only in its ability to entertain,” he and his colleagues write, “but also in the ability to imbue humans with a real sense of power.”

As Tom Jacobs notes at Pacific Standard, writers like Henry David Thoreau and George Eliot have noted how fiery music can stoke you into action, but the new research lends empirical evidence.

Jacobs summarizes one such experiment:

… 78 undergraduates listened to an original, two-minute-long piece of instrumental music in one of two conditions: With the bass line prominent or subdued. Afterwards, they “rated how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt,” as well as how strongly they were feeling three positive emotions (happiness, excitement, and enthusiasm).

The result: People who heard the heavy bass line felt more powerful, dominant, and determined than their easy-listening peers.

Why? Researchers chalked it up to the associations we have between deep sounds and authority, calling out how James Earl Jones sounded when he voiced Darth Vader in “Star Wars.” Similarly, CEOs with deep voices make more money.

This connection extends to whatever summer jam you have pumping through your headphones.

“People can hear specific music components that express a sense of power and mimic those feelings internally,” the study authors write.

If you have any recommendations for what to listen to — aside from Black Sabbath on repeat — tell us in the comments.

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