Music can have all sorts of strange/interesting effects on the human brain. One of the more interesting effects is that sad music can actually make you feel better.
Free University of Berlin Researchers Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch surveyed 722 people from all over the world on the subject of sad songs.
The survey “investigates the rewarding aspects of music-evoked sadness, as well as the relative contribution of listener characteristics and situational factors to the appreciation of sad music,” the researchers report.
“For many individuals, listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects,” they wrote in the PLOS ONE journal. “Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but it also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.”
The results of the study suggest that sad music brings up “complex and partially positive emotions, such as nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence and wonder.”
Participants felt that sad music actually consoled them, and researchers found it to have “pleasurable effects due to the engagement of imaginative processes.” Surprisingly, the study found that nostalgia—not sadness—is the most frequent emotion triggered by sad music.
Long story short, sad music actually helps people through sad times. As the study puts it, “Listeners frequently engage with sad music when experiencing emotional distress to facilitate venting of negative emotion or mood.”
Read the full study here. And without further ado, here's Mineral’s “Parking Lot.”
Photo via Wikimedia Commons