The Reason People Listen to Sad Songs

It’s not because they make us sad but because they help us feel connected, a new study suggests.

This is the paradox of sad music: We generally don’t enjoy being sad in real life, but we do enjoy art that makes us feel that way. Countless scholars since Aristotle have tried to account for it. Maybe we experience a catharsis of negative emotions through music. Maybe there’s an evolutionary advantage in it, or maybe we’re socially conditioned to appreciate our own suffering. Maybe our bodies produce hormones in response to the fragmentary malaise of the music, creating a feeling of consolation.

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