Human emotional weeping, or crying, occurs in response to a wide array of antecedents. Although music is often mentioned specifically as a stimulus that may make individuals cry, few studies have systematically explored the characteristics of these crying episodes. The present study examines crying over music. Participants (N = 2778; 1716 women) completed a survey asking about the last time they cried while listening to music, their associated emotions and physical experiences, details of the song they were listening to, time of day, presence of others, and the overall experience of the crying episode itself. Crying over music appears to be relatively common and occurs mainly when the person is alone during the afternoon and evening. Participants cried over a wide variety of songs, and they attributed their crying to sad memories, nostalgia, the music itself, and the lyrics. They often experienced being moved, sadness, powerlessness, and nostalgia while crying over music. These findings are discussed in the context of music listening and how they compare with the findings of research on crying in general.
- emotional tears
- mood regulation