Relationship troubles? Some sad music might help you feel better
Consumers experiencing relationship problems are more likely to prefer aesthetic experiences that reflect their negative mood, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "Emotional experiences of aesthetic products are important to our happiness and well-being. Music, movies, paintings, or novels that are compatible with our current mood and feelings, akin to an empathic friend, are more appreciated when we experience broken or failing relationships," write authors Chan Jean Lee (KAIST Business School), Eduardo B. Andrade (FGV School of Administration), and Stephen E. Palmer (University of California, Berkeley).
Consumers experience serious emotional distress when intimate relationships are broken, and look for a surrogate to replace the lost personal bond. Prior research has reported that consumers in a negative mood prefer pleasant, positive aesthetic experiences (cheerful music; fun comedies) to counter their negative feelings. However, under certain circumstances, consumers in negative moods might choose aesthetic experiences consistent with their mood (sad music; tear-jerking dramas) even when more pleasant alternatives are also available.
In one study, consumers were presented with various frustrating situations and asked to rate angry music relative to joyful or relaxing music. Consumers liked angry music more when they were frustrated by interpersonal violations (being interrupted; someone always being late) than by impersonal hassles (no internet connection; natural disaster).
In another study, consumers were asked to recall experiences involving loss. Preference for sad music was significantly higher when they had experienced an interpersonal loss (losing a personal relationship) versus an impersonal loss (losing a competition).
"Interpersonal relationships influence consumer preference for aesthetic experiences. Consumers seek and experience emotional companionship with music, films, novels, and the fine arts as a substitute for lost and troubled relationships," the authors conclude.
- Relationship troubles? Some sad music might help you feel betterfrom Science DailyTue, 14 May 2013, 15:00:33 EDT
- Relationship troubles? Some sad music might help you feel betterfrom PhysorgTue, 14 May 2013, 13:01:16 EDT
- Relationship troubles? Some sad music might help you feel betterfrom Science BlogTue, 14 May 2013, 13:00:28 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores
- King crabs threaten Antarctic ecosystem due to warming ocean
- Twitter behavior can predict users' income level, new Penn research shows
- Climate change negatively affects birth weight, University of Utah study finds
- Post diagnosis aspirin improves survival in all gastrointestinal cancers
- IU scientists use Instagram data to forecast top models at New York Fashion Week
- A snapshot of Americans' knowledge about science
- Parsing photons in the infrared, UCI-led astronomers uncover signs of earliest galaxies
- Farthest galaxy detected
- Researchers identify 3 new fossil whale species of New Zealand