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Friday, March 11, 2011

Why do we enjoy listening to sad songs?

Good news, it is definitely not because we are masochistic...
Judging by recent scientific studies, there is a chemical reason why we like sad songs!
David Huron, a researcher at Ohio State's School of Music, discovered it is because of prolactin.
Prolactin is a hormone that can be found during pregnancy, but also when we are sad and has the effect to ease down the sadness.

When we listen to sad songs, our body is fooled into thinking that we are in a state of sadness, which triggers the secretion of prolactin. Thus, we suddenly feel a lot better, while our brain knows that nothing serious happened to us: we did not lose our dog nor did our grandmother die!
Then, at the end of the day, we are feeling even better than before listening to our favorite playlist of depressing songs.
Jeff Buckley: making sad songs right at the moment the photo was taken

Huron researched the presence of prolactin in the blood of several patients, and he discovered that those who had the highest quantity of prolactin in their blood where also those who also enjoyed listening to sad songs the most.

Another study even showed that young people would rather choose listening to music over sex, even if they had to pay to download it!
Then, let's not feel guilty next time we listen to Creep by Radiohead and we enjoy it!

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