A pleasant, romantic sadness

In general, sad music is thought to cause us to experience sadness, which is considered an unpleasant emotion. As a result, the question arises as to why we listen to sad music if it evokes sadness. One possible answer to this question is that we may actually feel positive emotions when we listen to sad music. This suggestion may appear to be counterintuitive; however, in this study, by dividing musical emotion into perceived emotion and felt emotion, we investigated this potential emotional response to music. We hypothesized that felt and perceived emotion may not actually coincide in this respect: sad music would be perceived as sad, but the experience of listening to sad music would evoke positive emotions. A total of 44 participants listened to musical excerpts and provided data on perceived and felt emotions by rating 62 descriptive words or phrases related to emotions on a scale that ranged from 0 (not at all) to 4 (very much). The results revealed that the sad music was perceived to be more tragic, whereas the actual experiences of the participants listening to the sad music induced them to feel more romantic, more blithe, and less tragic emotions than they actually perceived with respect to the same music. Thus, the participants experienced ambivalent emotions when they listened to the sad music. After considering the possible reasons that listeners were induced to experience emotional ambivalence by the sad music, we concluded that the formulation of a new model would be essential for examining the emotions induced by music and that this new model must entertain the possibility that what we experience when listening to music is vicarious emotion.

Citation: Kawakami A, Furukawa K, Katahira K and Okanoya K (2013) Sad music induces pleasant emotion. Front. Psychol4:311. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00311

Copyright © 2013 Kawakami, Furukawa, Katahira and Okanoya. This is an open-access article.

Amplifying positive emotions

Expressing emotions has social functions; it provides information, affects social interactions, and shapes relationships with others. Expressing positive emotions could be a strategic tool for improving goal attainment during social interactions at work. Such effects have been found in research on social contagion, impression management, and emotion work. However, expressing emotions one does not feel entails the risk of being perceived as inauthentic. This risk may well be worth taking when the emotions felt are negative, as expressing negative emotions usually has negative effects. When experiencing positive emotions, however, expressing them authentically promises benefits, and the advantage of amplifying them is not so obvious. We postulated that expressing, and amplifying, positive emotions would foster goal attainment in social interactions at work, particularly when dealing with superiors. Analyses are based on 494 interactions involving the pursuit of a goal by 113 employes. Multilevel analyses, including polynomial analyses, show that authentic display of positive emotions supported goal attainment throughout. However, amplifying felt positive emotions promoted goal attainment only in interactions with superiors, but not with colleagues. Results are discussed with regard to the importance of hierarchy for detecting, and interpreting, signs of strategic display of positive emotions.

Wong E, Tschan F, Messerli L and Semmer NK (2013) Expressing and amplifying positive emotions facilitate goal attainment in workplace interactions. Front. Psychol.4:188. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00188

Copyright: © 2013 Wong, Tschan, Messerli and Semmer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.