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.


Why Does Music Move Us?

Music can give you the feels. But how?


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





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