1 Comment on How listening to music in a group influences depression

  1. While the claims made in Sigurdsson’s blog post are certainly though provoking, I only agree with them to a certain extent. First off, her claim that the results of the study showed that listening to sad music makes people feel depressed and that listening to happy music makes them feel happy can be considered common knowledge. While people experience and interpret music in their own way, it’s a fair statement to say that things of a darker nature leave people feeling unsettled and things of a lighter nature can relieve tension. The statement, though accurate, does not go into depth of the study which has far more implications as pertaining to group listening specifically. While generally the mood was lighter and more enjoyable with a group present, the critical comprehension of the music that was being played took a backseat as it had now become more of a social event. While there are many reasons to listen to music in groups, such as going out to a concert, the addition of a social element is intrinsically limiting to the listener. If listening to music as a coping mechanism for depression, it is more effective to be alone with one’s thoughts where they can listen multiple times and discern their own meaning from the piece.
    In public, listeners are more susceptible to group opinions and the band wagon effect; additionally, many suppress their reactions in public compared to the privacy of their own residence. The study finds that “Susceptible individuals with a predilection for rumination may be most likely to suffer negative outcomes from group rumination, with social feedback deepening and exacerbating negative thoughts and feelings” (Garrido 2017). If one’s objective is to deeply reflect on a song’s meaning and trying to find personal value in it, a social setting is typically not conducive to this. However, the study also notes that “…group interactions that provide social support or opportunities for processing of emotions in a constructive way have a much higher likelihood of being positive” (Garrido 2017). If the social group is a healthy environment that encourages reflection and discussion then it can be hugely beneficial to listen to music with them. This is perhaps why the depression was reportedly higher in younger demographics, many are simply not engaging in any kind of meaningful discussion or debrief about the material as it pertains to them. Many musicians will analyze their favorite charts with each other, but that level of response is more focused around the mechanical aspects of the song and its structure more so than how it made them feel from an emotional standpoint. Overall the article makes some interesting claims that are thought-provoking in terms of how we consume and listen to music. There is a time and a place for listening to music to make yourself feel a certain way; if you attempt to do so with friends, just make sure you are all on the same page and ready to have discussion about it afterward.


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