Mar 16, 2017 11:31 AM EDT
Want To Feel Positive? Listen To Sad Music, Study Says
It has been a widely-held belief that when people feel sad, they listen to sad music strengthening the feeling of sadness. However, two separate studies revealed that listening to sad music actually evoke positive emotions rather than negative ones. The studies also explain why people love listening to sad music.
Researchers from the Tokyo University of Arts and the RIKEN Brain Institute asked 44 volunteers to listen to two pieces of sad music and one happy music. They then instructed participants to rate their emotional state as well as how they perceive the songs.
The participants of the study experienced contradictory emotions when they listened to sad music because they perceive it to be less romantic and more tragic than what they were feeling at the time they were listening to it.
The researchers explained that sad music generally makes people sad, which is perceived to be negative. However, they argued that if sad music only induces sadness, why do people love listening to it.
The researchers explained the phenomenon saying that since music is a form of art, the sadness conveyed through music is pleasant. Simply put, sad music is art and art is pleasant; thus, sad music is pleasant as well.
Moreover, the sadness conveyed in sad music does not really pose any threat to their safety, unlike the sadness they feel. In fact, it can even help them cope with the negative emotions they feel as they traverse daily life.
Another study at the University of Kent and Limerick said that 'beautiful, sad music' can, in fact, help people feel better. Just like the Tokyo University study, participants were asked to describe the effect of the sad music they were listening to during moments of sadness.
The researchers found out that even though the participants chose sad music, they also classify that music as beautiful because their goal was to enhance their mood through that music.
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