Why Another Sad Love Song Might Be OK

May 15, 2013  |  
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When love gets us down, we all have those songs that break out hearts and we try to avoid them. But a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research says it’s okay to play those songs; it might even be good for you.

The study’s authors write, “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.” Past research found that after heartbreak, people reach for funny movies and dance music but this new study finds that actually, many turn on sad movies when romantic problems arise, even when more cheerful options are available. When a personal bond is broken or lost, people look to replace it with art and entertainment, the consumer research team found.

The researchers asked people to recall an experience of loss and remember the kind of movies, music or art they were interested at the time. A significant portion of the respondents reported consuming sad art when they were sad. The same mirroring held true when they were angry or happy. This suggests people seek “emotional companionship” instead of things that will fix their mood.

What music and movies did you go for during your last breakup?

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