The study has revealed that those who frequently listen to sad or aggressive music may experience higher anxiety
The music people listen to could give a clue as to their mental health.
Researchers tested the neural activity of participants as they tuned in to happy, sad or fearful sounding music.
After recording the results, the responses were assessed on several markers of mental health including depression, anxiety and neuroticism.
The findings, carried out by researchers at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Jyväskylä, Aalto University in Finland and Aarhus University in Denmark and published in this August’s Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal, suggest that those who frequently listen to sad or aggressive music may experience higher anxiety or neuroticism.
“This style of listening results in the feeling of expression of negative feelings, not necessarily improving the negative mood,” says Dr. Suvi Saarikallio, co-author of the study and developer of the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) test.
Analysis has revealed that men who listen to music to express their more negative feelings had less brain activity medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) compared to women. The mPFC is active during emotion regulation,” according to prof. Elvira Brattico, the senior author of the study.
“These results show a link between music listening styles and mPFC activation, which could mean that certain listening styles have long-term effects on the brain.”
The researchers hope that their study can be used to aid music therapists on what to recommend to those experiencing emotional distress.
“We hope our research encourages music therapists to talk with their clients about their music use outside the session,” concludes Emily Carlson, a music therapist and author of the story. “[We hope our work] encourages everyone to think about the how the different ways they use music might help or harm their own well-being.”