Your music listening habits can tell about your mental health, according to a new research.
Brain imaging reveals how neural responses to different types of music really affect the emotion regulation of persons. The study proves that especially men who process negative feelings with music react negatively to aggressive and sad music.
Emotion regulation is an essential component to mental health. Poor emotion regulation is associated with psychiatric mood disorders such as depression. Clinical music therapists know the power music can have over emotions, and are able to use music to help their clients to better mood states and even to help relieve symptoms of psychiatric mood disorders like depression.
But many people also listen to music on their own as a means of emotion regulation, and not much is known about how this kind of music listening affects mental health.
Researchers at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Jyvaskyla, Aalto University in Finland and Aarhus University in Denmark decided to investigate the relationship between mental health, music listening habits and neural responses to music emotions by looking at a combination of behavioural and neuroimaging data.
“Some ways of coping with negative emotion, such as rumination, which means continually thinking over negative things, are linked to poor mental health. We wanted to learn whether there could be similar negative effects of some styles of music listening,” explains Emily Carlson, a music therapist and the main author of the study.
Senior author Elvira Brattico said that they hope the research encourages music therapists to talk with their clients about their music use outside the session and encourages everyone to think about the how the different ways they use music might help or harm their own well-being.
The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.