Within the second a part of the experiment, involving 450 new topics, the researchers gave every participant 72 descriptions of emotional songs, which expressed emotions together with “contempt,” “narcissism,” “inspiration” and “lustfulness.” For comparability, additionally they gave individuals prompts that described a conversational interplay by which somebody expressed their emotions. (For instance: “An acquaintance is speaking to you about their week and expresses emotions of wistfulness.”) On the entire, the feelings that topics felt had been deeply rooted to “what music is all about” had been additionally those who made folks really feel extra linked to 1 one other in dialog: love, pleasure, loneliness, disappointment, ecstasy, calmness, sorrow.
Mario Attie-Picker, a thinker at Loyola College Chicago who helped lead the analysis, discovered the outcomes compelling. After contemplating the information, he proposed a comparatively easy thought: Perhaps we hearken to music not for an emotional response — many topics reported that unhappy music, albeit creative, was not notably fulfilling — however for the sense of connection to others. Utilized to the paradox of unhappy music: Our love of the music isn’t a direct appreciation of disappointment, it’s an appreciation of connection. Dr. Knobe and Dr. Venkatesan had been shortly on board.
“I’m a believer already,” Dr. Eerola stated when he was alerted to the examine. In his personal analysis, he has discovered that notably empathetic persons are extra prone to be moved by unfamiliar unhappy music. “They’re prepared to have interaction in this sort of fictional disappointment that the music is bringing them,” he stated. These folks additionally show extra important hormonal adjustments in response to unhappy music.
However unhappy music is layered — it’s an onion — and this rationalization prompts extra questions. With whom are we connecting? The artist? Our previous selves? An imaginary individual? And the way can unhappy music be “all about” something? Doesn’t the facility of artwork derive, partly, from its potential to transcend abstract, to broaden expertise?
One after the other, the researchers acknowledged the complexity of their topic, and the restrictions of current work. After which Dr. Attie-Picker supplied a much less philosophical argument for his or her outcomes: “It simply feels proper,” he stated.
Audio produced by Adrienne Hurst.