New study examines why we love sad music

A UNSW study examines our enjoyment of negative emotions aroused by sad music.
A woman wearing headphones standing on a train.

Led by Professor Emery Schubert, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has released a new study analysing why listening to sad music can make us feel good. Titled ‘Liking music with and without sadness: Testing the direct effect hypothesis of pleasurable negative emotion’, the journal article suggests that negative emotions from listening to sad music can produce pleasure.

‘It’s paradoxical to think you could enjoy something that makes you feel a negative emotion,’ says Schubert. ‘But this research shows the first empirical evidence that sadness can positively affect the enjoyment of music, directly.’

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