Why Music Makes You Feel Better with Pablo Ripollés and Ernest Mas Herrero

In this episode we are thrilled to be discussing our two favorite topics: human behavior and music. We learn that music, more than any other activity, can help lift our mood, during COVID. Our guests Pablo Ripollés PhD and Ernest Mas Herrero have spent years studying how the brain responds to rewards, learning and memory. Early in the pandemic, they decided to conduct research on a long list of activities that people were doing at home to manage their stress and increase the pleasure in their lives. While a number of the activities were found to help with mental health, the research overwhelmingly showed that engaging with music was the best way to lift your mood.

We have a really engaging conversation with Pablo and Ernest about their research findings on wellbeing and music. They believe that because listening to music is a passive activity and is so accessible, or “fun and free” as they call it, everyone can experience pleasure from it. And it’s not just listening to music; dancing, singing or playing music are all beneficial.  We also learn that the best type of music to engage with is whatever music you really enjoy: “It will be beneficial as long as it is pleasurable.”

The questionnaire Pablo and Ernest discuss in the podcast is the Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire. It will take you only a few minutes to find out about your individual sensitivity to musical reward. And you can also read Pablo and Ernest’s full research article: “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms”.

Listen in to find out more from Pablo and Ernest about how music can benefit your mental wellbeing. And If you’d like to support the work we do at Behavioral Grooves bringing you interesting research insights, please consider becoming a Patreon member at https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves.


(0:06) Introduction

(5:20) Speed Round Questions

(8:44) Research Insights with Pablo and Ernest

(36:50) Grooving Session

Other Podcast Episodes

Dessa: The Attention Shepherd on the Curious Act of Being Deeply Human”


The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger


Chris Matyszczyk: Listening to Music While You Work


Covid-19 Crisis: Emotional Impact of WFH with Liz Fosslien


© 2021 Behavioral Grooves

AIRDATE: May 2, 2021 EPISODE 219

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Why Music Makes You Feel Better with Pablo Ripollés and Ernest Mas Herrero

Featured Guest

Ernest Mas Herrero and Pablo Ripollés PhD