New Video Study Breaks Down the Science Behind Mosh Pits

Unsplash/Yvette de Wit
Published on:

Any metalhead worth their salt knows the inside of a mosh pit. But while most of us see the pit as a great place to burn off some stress and get thoroughly tenderized, the science behind moshing rarely enters into our minds during the process. Now, one YouTube ‘professor’ has made a video more thoroughly explaining the science behind our favorite pastime.

The video comes from Professor Politics, a YouTube channel hosted by one Peter Licari. Pete’s not just a scientist and YouTube host, he’s also a metalhead, recalling that his first concert was Disturbed with Killswitch Engage in tow (well, okay, like many of us his actual first concert was an embarrassing one — the Backstreet Boys when he was seven). But he did suffer a concussion in a Five Finger Death Punch pit, so at least we know he actually has experience moshing in all its kinetic, painful glory.

“[Moshingh] seems animal, and it’s definitely primal to say the least, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its own order,” says Peter. “There are rules during the pit, spanning from physics to anthropology to social psychology.”

Peter goes on to point out that while mosh pits seem random, it’s a “particular kind of random,” saying, “We may remember from Intro to Physics or Chemistry that gas particles tend to bounce off of each other, whereas liquids and solids respectively have more cohesion and structure. And if you look at this interactive model that they’ve developed called MASHer — that is, Mobile Active Simulated Humanoids — it looks rather similar…and this is based off of video and hands-on knowledge of mosh pits. It’s honestly pretty fun to play with!

“Even if how people move in the pit is best described by chaotic processes, how people act definitely isn’t,” he continues. “There are rules of etiquette in the pit — you don’t wear spiky clothing, you don’t actually try to fight anybody, there’s no intentional hitting below the belt, and if somebody falls down, they’re going to get lifted up…Mosh pits are a culture all their own, which is why several anthropologists have found it worthwhile to look at them closer and study them.”

Check out the full video below:


Words by Chris Krovatin