Music has gotten us through hard times over the past year — for many of us, even through mental health struggles. But according to a recent study, techno may not be the best option for reducing anxiety.
Research conducted by the Vera Clinic observed 1540 individuals between ages 18 – 65, who were played a variety of music from classical to pop to dubstep. Volunteers were hooked up to heart rate and blood pressure monitors while listening through a number of genre-specific Spotify playlists.
Techno, dubstep and — interestingly enough — classical chillout were the top three genres found to increase heart rates among the sample. Techno, dubstep and 70’s rock anthems had a tendency to increase blood pressure. As a result, techno was found to be the “least relaxing” form of music.
In another twist, the top genres found to decrease blood pressure were ’80s and ’00s pop, as well as heavy metal classics. For clarity, Doctor Ömer Avlanmış gave his two cents on these results:
Medically they make a lot of sense. 80’s pop hits could have positive nostalgia attached to them for many people, and their upbeat, party-like sounds can induce the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, both increasing feelings of happiness and calm. In terms of heavy metal, I’d observe that angry music can help listeners process their feelings and as a result lead to greater well-being.
While we can argue the level of anxiety experienced may be dependent on the listener’s own music preferences and the intensity of the track selections, both techno and dubstep can operate at high BPMs — so perhaps this was a factor.
There are also various sub-genres within techno and dubstep (and any genre, really), which could have impacted the results. Again, all depending on which tracks were played out and how the listeners interpreted the music.
Techno and dubstep lovers sound off — do these genres tend to calm you down or hype you up? Let us know!