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Emotion. 2011 Oct;11(5):1068-72. doi: 10.1037/a0023749.

Misery loves company: mood-congruent emotional responding to music.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


We examined emotional responding to music after mood induction. On each trial, listeners heard a 30-s music excerpt and rated how much they liked it, whether it sounded happy or sad, and how familiar it was. When the excerpts sounded unambiguously happy or sad (Experiment 1), the typical preference for happy-sounding music was eliminated after inducing a sad mood. When the excerpts sounded ambiguous with respect to happiness and sadness (Experiment 2), listeners perceived more sadness after inducing a sad mood. Sad moods had no influence on familiarity ratings (Experiments 1 and 2). These findings imply that "misery loves company." Listeners in a sad mood fail to show the typical preference for happy-sounding music, and they perceive more sadness in music that is ambiguous with respect to mood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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