Why Do People Like Sad Songs?

Why Do People Like Sad Songs?

You're going through a terrible breakup and experiencing a whole new level of sadness. Wouldn't common sense tell you to watch a funny movie and listen to happy music? Maybe not. Sad music may actually lift your sprits. Find out why in the following videos.

Here's Why We Enjoy Sad Music

Hint: It has to do with culture, language and your brain.

03:09

Why Does Music Move Us?

Music can give you the feels. But how?

04:49

from It's Okay To Be Smart

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Steven Pinker calls music "auditory cheesecake." We didn't evolve to love cheesecake specifically; we evolved to love anything sweet or high-calorie, so cheesecake is a side-effect of our evolution. Music, likewise, is a side effect of our need for language and a sense of our surroundings. (0:46)

  • 2

    A study by neuroscientist Talia Wheeley found that we may read emotion in music the same way we read emotion in human movement. (2:20)

  • 3

    Just as we can sense emotion by watching someone walk or dance, we can identify when a song is happy or sad. Music seems to move us because we move. (4:01)

Why New Music Feels Amazing

Your brain can immediately tell you whether or not you like a new song.

See all

Emotion

Music

Neuroscience

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