Beautiful but sad music can help improve mood when people are feeling blue, research finds.
For the study 220 people recalled something depressing that had happened to them.
They then recalled what type of music they had listened to afterwards.
Choosing beautiful but sad music emerged as the only strategy that people thought had cheered them up.
Dr Annemieke van den Tol, the study’s first author, explained the results:
”We found in our research that people’s music choice is linked to the individual’s own expectations for listening to music and its effects on them.
The results showed that if an individual has intended to achieve mood enhancement through listening to ‘sad’ music, this was in fact often achieved by first thinking about their situation or being distracted, rather than directly through listening to the music chosen.
Indeed, where respondents indicated they had chosen music with the intention of triggering memories, this had a negative impact on creating a better mood.
The only selection strategy that was found to directly predict mood enhancement was where the music was perceived by the listener to have high aesthetic value.”
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The study was published in the journal Psychology of Music (Van den Tol & Edwards, 2014).