A question that often comes up in music psychology is why so many people enjoy music that recalls negative emotions like sadness. It seems paradoxical that people would seek out and apparently experience positive feelings from music that portrays negative emotions. A new paper in the journal Frontiers in Psychology puts forward one possible explanation…

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Abstract art might seem random or lacking coherence at first glance, but psychologists are weighing in with evidence that there really is a method in the chaos. A new study suggests that people without any special artistic experience tend to make similar aesthetic judgments about abstract paintings. In the study, researchers showed 40 participants abstract…

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Some pictures have the power to evoke a sense of peace and relaxation in us. Seeking out that feeling is what’s behind Project Soothe, in which psychology researchers at University of Edinburgh are compiling a database of soothing pictures. The researchers have been accepting soothing images from the general public, then adding those images to…

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For centuries, people have puzzled over the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression. In recent years, psychology researchers have joined in with their own theories, even debating fundamental questions such as whether Mona Lisa’s facial expression indicates happiness or sadness. The latest contribution to the “Mona Lisa studies” branch of psychology comes from a paper titled Unraveling…

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If you’re like me, music is an indispensable part of your work routine. Then again, maybe you’re like some other people I know who need absolute silence in order to concentrate. It’s easy to see arguments both for and against listening to music while doing cognitive tasks. On one hand, some background music can stave…

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If you want your brain to stay in good form as the years add up, be sure to keep a healthy diet, exercise frequently, and … play a musical instrument? A new meta-analysis of studies on the link between music and cognitive health has concluded that regularly practicing a musical instrument correlates with enhanced cognitive…

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“Turn up the music, I’m trying to sleep!” It’s not a phrase you’re likely to hear, but it’s one that apparently describes many people’s bedtime routines. Music is a popular sleep aid, and a new study from researchers in the United Kingdom reveals just how common using music to facilitate sleep is. In the online…

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