The study concludes that the distortion in rock music sounds similar to the noises an animal makes when in distress—which, as part of the animal kingdom, excites human listeners.
Blumstein, specializes in animal communication. He says his study shows that jarring rock music shares aural characteristics with the arousing vocalizations of troubled animals and may capture human attention in the same way. Crying animals sound distorted because they force a large amount of air rapidly through their voice box to communicate alarm and fear. Listening to noisy music is similar to hearing animal distress calls.
“This study helps explain why the distortion of rock ‘n’ roll gets people excited,” co-author Greg Bryant said. “It brings out the animal in us.”
Or, at least, it brings out one element of the animal in us.
The whole study is here.