Finding Happiness in Angry Music

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From The Atlantic:

Is it possible that listening to angry music could make people happier? Do hours and years of loud riffs and screeching vocals pummeling your ear drums actually mellow you out?

It’s a theory backed up in a recent study conducted by Maya Tamir and Brett Ford, researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In one study, 175 people were asked to participate in role-playing exercises where they had to either confront a person—like a cop interrogating a suspect—or collaborate with someone. But before the role-playing began, the subjects were allowed to choose from a selection of music to aid in evoking the emotions they would need: Anger, happiness, or neutrality. It was up to them to choose what they wanted to hear. “Music is often used as a way to manipulate emotions, I just had people decide how to manipulate their own emotions,” Tamir says.

The subjects were also asked questions about their emotional health, happiness, and feelings of social support.

It’s no novel idea that someone might choose to rev themselves up with aggressive music before a engaging in a tough task: A fourth quarter tie-breaker, a tense salary negotiation. And no surprise, the folks who chose angry music had no problem completing their tasks.

But Tamir also found that the people who chose to be pissed off actually showed a greater sense of well-being overall than the people who avoided feelings of unpleasantness.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Atlantic