PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A bad break-up and sad music go together like peanut butter and chocolate, but why?

According to scientists, depressing songs actually help people who are down in the dumps feel better.

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In new research published in the journal PLOS One, researchers gathered data from over 700 people using an online survey.

Apparently, survey participants who were more empathetic but had lower emotional stability were more likely to appreciate sad music. And surprisingly, participants reported that nostalgia was the number one emotion evoked by listening to weepy songs – not sadness.

Furthermore, some of the emotions that survey respondents reported feeling when listening to sad songs included “partially positive” ones like nostalgia, transcendence, wonder and peacefulness. That multi-faceted emotional response might actually make sad music more appealing.

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“Listening to sad music can lead to beneficial emotional effects such as regulation of negative emotion and mood as well as consolation,” the researchers say. “Such beneficial emotional effects constitute the prime motivations for engaging with sad music in everyday life.”

“Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic abstract reward, but also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as by regulating negative moods and emotions,” they conclude.

To read the entire study, click here.

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