Do people prefer sad poetry?


According to Psychology Today: if before hearing a piece of music or a poem listeners are told that the composer or poet wrote it while in a happy or sad mood, the listener will interpret the poem as being happy or sad, accordingly. “Their capacity to imagine the expressive goals of the composer or author helped them engage emotionally with the music or the poetry.”

“But an intriguing difference arose between the art forms. People liked and were more moved by the music when they thought it had been written for some happy purpose, but they liked and were moved by the poetry when told it had been written with a darker intent. Overall, they preferred music when they heard it as happy, but they preferred poetry when they heard it as sad.”

How Do Music and Poetry Become Expressive? – Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis – Psychology Today – July 29, 2017

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