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Being moved by unfamiliar sad music is associated with high empathy.

Eerola, T. and Vuoskoski, J. K. and Kautiainen, H. (2016) 'Being moved by unfamiliar sad music is associated with high empathy.', Frontiers in psychology., 7 . p. 1176.

Abstract

The paradox of enjoying listening to music that evokes sadness is yet to be fully understood. Unlike prior studies that have explored potential explanations related to lyrics, memories, and mood regulation, we investigated the types of emotions induced by unfamiliar, instrumental sad music, and whether these responses are consistently associated with certain individual difference variables. One hundred and two participants were drawn from a representative sample to minimize self-selection bias. The results suggest that the emotional responses induced by unfamiliar sad music could be characterized in terms of three underlying factors: Relaxing sadness, Moving sadness, and Nervous sadness. Relaxing sadness was characterized by felt and perceived peacefulness and positive valence. Moving sadness captured an intense experience that involved feelings of sadness and being moved. Nervous sadness was associated with felt anxiety, perceived scariness and negative valence. These interpretations were supported by indirect measures of felt emotion. Experiences of Moving sadness were strongly associated with high trait empathy and emotional contagion, but not with other previously suggested traits such as absorption or nostalgia-proneness. Relaxing sadness and Nervous sadness were not significantly predicted by any of the individual difference variables. The findings are interpreted within a theoretical framework of embodied emotions.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01176
Publisher statement:Copyright © 2016 Eerola, Vuoskoski and Kautiainen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date accepted:25 July 2016
Date deposited:27 September 2016
Date of first online publication:15 September 2016
Date first made open access:27 September 2016

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