When individuals feel down, they naturally turn to music for consolation. They attempt to drive away their negative feelings with songs expressing their personal mood and situation. But sad music doesn’t necessarily transform a sad person; rather, it can reinforce those emotions and skew perspective through emotional connections. Seeking to understand how music influences emotions, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published a study that may change the way you use music to regulate your mood.
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is the portion of the brain associated with regulating emotions. Scientists at Aalto University monitored brain activity in the mPFC to determine the effects of different kinds of music on males and females. The study found when women listened to music as a diversion or distraction from negative feelings there was increased emotional regulation. Conversely, when men used music to reinforce negative emotions, their emotional regulation decreased, suggesting that sad music can help propel a person into a downward emotional spiral, or at least be ineffective and brightening someone’s mood.
In a nutshell, the study suggests that people are using music every day to combat or compliment their emotions, but improper use of music may only amplify their emotional concerns.
Aalto University’s study reinforces the notion that music has a profound influence on individuals’ lives. Music can be extremely beneficial when used in the correct way, but incorrect use can have adverse effects. Understanding music’s potential is just the beginning. That is the community of music and medicine is diving deeper into previously neglected areas of music research to discover how best to utilize music’s valuable capabilities.
With deeper knowledge and understanding of music’s influence on our lives, we can regulate our emotions with cognitive control. To learn more about extensive Genote™ Health Music discoveries, visit http://www.genotelab.com/.