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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Repetitively turning over negative thoughts, or ruminating, is a behavior that has been explored as a target for therapy in conditions like depression. After all, it’s not hard to imagine that getting stuck in a cycle of replaying negative thoughts might harm mental health. So what’s the best way to stop ruminating on negative thoughts?…

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In a general sense, life looks the same for all of us: stuff happens to us. We learn from that stuff, sometimes. We get older. Ideally, we have a sense that there’s some progression to our lives. Learning from our past experiences helps us live our lives more effectively as we get older, and eventually…

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If there’s an upside to adversity, it might be greater empathy for others. That idea makes a certain intuitive sense to us, and there’s some evidence to support it. Take, for example, a 2016 study published in the journal Emotion. In the study, psychology researchers collected information about how much adversity people had encountered in…

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In 2018, a biology teacher from Cincinnati named Bryce Carlson decided to row across the North Atlantic. That feat is about as difficult as it sounds. Carlson faced no shortage of obstacles on his journey, from a capsized boat to $85,000 in debt. But ultimately, he became the first American to row across the Atlantic…

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Humor is a funny thing. Different people use it in different ways. I’ve touched on this topic in some previous blog posts. People with high self-esteem, for example, tend to use humor to build relationships with others. Undertakers, on the other hand, tend not to use it much at all. Now, a new study from…

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We’ve all had the experience of looking back and feeling nostalgic about a particular time in our lives. A slightly more complicated feeling is looking forward to the future to imagine how we’ll one day look back on the present with nostalgia. Psychologists call this experience anticipated nostalgia. Another way to describe it, as in…

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It’s interesting how many of our everyday concerns look petty when viewed from outer space. Experiences that inspire awe in us can shift our perspective and lead us to look beyond what’s immediately in front of us. The idea that awe changes us was the basis for a recent psychology study in which researchers asked…

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