Psychologists suggest that listening to sad songs could bring emotional benefits
No one wants to feel unhappy, so why are sad songs so popular? Psychologists from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, undertook the task of investigating the science behind melancholic music. Surprisingly, listening to it could bring emotional benefits.
The team of researchers, led by Liila Taruffi, asked 772 people (408 Europeans and the rest of Asia and North America) to answer a questionnaire about how often they listened to sad songs, the situations that led them to do so, and the emotions they evoked in them.
They found that sad music evoked a wide range of complex emotions in the participants, such as nostalgia, tranquility, tenderness and transcendence. The results showed that nostalgia was the most frequent emotion, present in 76% of cases, followed by tranquility with 57.5%.
According to scientists, these are healthy emotions that help us feel good. Listening to sad music brings comfort and helps regulate negative moods. In this way, it could provide emotional benefits. Since a large number of participants reported hearing such songs in situations of emotional stress or feeling alone, they suspect that it could be a form of self-medication.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, agrees with previous research that indicates that sad music generates chemical changes in the brain that help us overcome emotional pain. According to Prof. David Huron of the University of Ohio, United States, the musical genre increases the production of the hormone prolactin, which helps fight depression.