Speed Reads


Study explains why we like listening to sad songs

If you're in a bad mood, you're probably more likely to listen to a depressing ballad than upbeat pop. And a new study might have the reason why.

Researchers at the Freie Universitat Berlin in Germany surveyed more than 770 people for a study published this month in the journal PLOS ONE. They found that sad music actually creates positive feelings, such as peacefulness and tenderness, in listeners. The researchers explained that sad music lets listeners experience sadness without the "real-life implications." The study noted that those who listened to sad music experienced more empathy, because they felt connected to the sadness of the songs' artists.

Sad music also has the "potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation," Liila Taruffi, one of the study's authors, told Today. "Sad music promotes and creates a space for reflection and reappraisal of personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings."

And on the plus side, going through something depressing, like a breakup, may have at least one benefit: "The appreciation of sad music is enhanced when listeners are experiencing emotional distress," according to the study.