Emotion regulation through listening to music in everyday situations

Cogn Emot. 2012;26(3):550-60. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2011.595390. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Music is a stimulus capable of triggering an array of basic and complex emotions. We investigated whether and how individuals employ music to induce specific emotional states in everyday situations for the purpose of emotion regulation. Furthermore, we wanted to examine whether specific emotion-regulation styles influence music selection in specific situations. Participants indicated how likely it would be that they would want to listen to various pieces of music (which are known to elicit specific emotions) in various emotional situations. Data analyses by means of non-metric multidimensional scaling revealed a clear preference for pieces of music that were emotionally congruent with an emotional situation. In addition, we found that specific emotion-regulation styles might influence the selection of pieces of music characterised by specific emotions. Our findings demonstrate emotion-congruent music selection and highlight the important role of specific emotion-regulation styles in the selection of music in everyday situations.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Acoustic Stimulation / psychology
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Choice Behavior
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / psychology*