One can experience four different cognitive rewards of music-evoked sadness - reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy and no "real life" implications, German researchers found.

"Sad music has potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation... In this sense, sad music can play a role in well-being," said study author Liila Taruffi from Freie Universitat, Berlin in Germany.

For the study, the team surveyed 772 participants from across the globe to find out why people listen to sad music particularly after break-ups.

Participants in the study reported liking sad music more when they were lonely. The appreciation of sad music was also enhanced after an argument with a loved one.

"People can appreciate the negative emotions conveyed in the songs without having to experience the 'real life' consequences of their sadness," the authors noted.

Singer Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" were the most popular songs participants listened to when they were feeling sad.

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