Neuroscience

Articles and news from the latest research reports.

139 notes

Trying to be Happier Works When Listening to Upbeat Music
The song, “Get Happy,” famously performed by Judy Garland, has encouraged people to improve their mood for decades. Recent research at the University of Missouri discovered that an individual can indeed successfully try to be happier, especially when cheery music aids the process. This research points to ways that people can actively improve their moods and corroborates earlier MU research.
“Our work provides support for what many people already do – listen to music to improve their moods,” said lead author Yuna Ferguson, who performed the study while she was an MU doctoral student in psychological science. “Although pursuing personal happiness may be thought of as a self-centered venture, research suggests that happiness relates to a higher probability of socially beneficial behavior, better physical health, higher income and greater relationship satisfaction.”
In two studies by Ferguson, participants successfully improved their moods in the short term and boosted their overall happiness over a two week period. During the first study, participants improved their mood after being instructed to attempt to do so, but only if they listened to the upbeat music of Copland, as opposed to the more somber Stravinsky. Other participants, who simply listened to the music without attempting to change their mood, also didn’t report a change in happiness. In the second study, participants reported higher levels of happiness after two weeks of lab sessions in which they listened to positive music while trying to feel happier, compared to control participants who only listened to music.
However, Ferguson noted that for people to put her research into practice, they must be wary of too much introspection into their mood or constantly asking, “Am I happy yet?”
“Rather than focusing on how much happiness they’ve gained and engaging in that kind of mental calculation, people could focus more on enjoying their experience of the journey towards happiness and not get hung up on the destination,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson’s work corroborated earlier findings by Ferguson’s doctoral advisor and co-author of the current study, Kennon Sheldon, professor of psychological science in MU’s College of Arts and Science.
“The Hedonic Adaptation Prevention model, developed in my earlier research, says that we can stay in the upper half of our ‘set range’ of potential happiness as long as we keep having positive experiences, and avoid wanting too much more than we have,” said Sheldon. “Yuna’s research suggests that we can intentionally seek to make mental changes leading to new positive experiences of life. The fact that we’re aware we’re doing this, has no detrimental effect.”
Ferguson is now assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University Shenango. The study, “Trying to Be Happier Really Can Work: Two Experimental Studies,” was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Trying to be Happier Works When Listening to Upbeat Music

The song, “Get Happy,” famously performed by Judy Garland, has encouraged people to improve their mood for decades. Recent research at the University of Missouri discovered that an individual can indeed successfully try to be happier, especially when cheery music aids the process. This research points to ways that people can actively improve their moods and corroborates earlier MU research.

“Our work provides support for what many people already do – listen to music to improve their moods,” said lead author Yuna Ferguson, who performed the study while she was an MU doctoral student in psychological science. “Although pursuing personal happiness may be thought of as a self-centered venture, research suggests that happiness relates to a higher probability of socially beneficial behavior, better physical health, higher income and greater relationship satisfaction.”

In two studies by Ferguson, participants successfully improved their moods in the short term and boosted their overall happiness over a two week period. During the first study, participants improved their mood after being instructed to attempt to do so, but only if they listened to the upbeat music of Copland, as opposed to the more somber Stravinsky. Other participants, who simply listened to the music without attempting to change their mood, also didn’t report a change in happiness. In the second study, participants reported higher levels of happiness after two weeks of lab sessions in which they listened to positive music while trying to feel happier, compared to control participants who only listened to music.

However, Ferguson noted that for people to put her research into practice, they must be wary of too much introspection into their mood or constantly asking, “Am I happy yet?”

“Rather than focusing on how much happiness they’ve gained and engaging in that kind of mental calculation, people could focus more on enjoying their experience of the journey towards happiness and not get hung up on the destination,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson’s work corroborated earlier findings by Ferguson’s doctoral advisor and co-author of the current study, Kennon Sheldon, professor of psychological science in MU’s College of Arts and Science.

“The Hedonic Adaptation Prevention model, developed in my earlier research, says that we can stay in the upper half of our ‘set range’ of potential happiness as long as we keep having positive experiences, and avoid wanting too much more than we have,” said Sheldon. “Yuna’s research suggests that we can intentionally seek to make mental changes leading to new positive experiences of life. The fact that we’re aware we’re doing this, has no detrimental effect.”

Ferguson is now assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University Shenango. The study, “Trying to Be Happier Really Can Work: Two Experimental Studies,” was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Filed under music happiness mood well-being psychology neuroscience science

  1. cellularandmolecularbiology reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    Trying to be Happier Works When Listening to Upbeat Music The song, “Get Happy,” famously performed by Judy Garland, has...
  2. peculiaraura reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  3. codedmessages reblogged this from burningjustforyou
  4. burningjustforyou reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  5. stuff-that-irks-me reblogged this from biognosis and added:
    Always works for me or upbeat music when exercising.
  6. biognosis reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  7. aboxfullofkitten reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  8. aerocosmos reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  9. discoteq reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  10. iseetheworldinmetaphor reblogged this from foreverbemused
  11. thevalidfallacy reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  12. ben-shiny reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  13. candyrandiblog reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  14. chandrav reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  15. anxietywithkayyko reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  16. robintheghost reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  17. fleshtemple reblogged this from lulian
  18. catsettes reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    for those of you who, like me, are searching for small moments of relief
  19. travzmcgavz reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  20. whatshallwecallmusic reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  21. maddsmadness reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  22. nobodyridestheunicorn reblogged this from caesuria
  23. silas216 reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
free counters