Moody tunes

To explore the effect that music has on the mind, Science News asked researchers to share a song they enjoy and the emotion it evokes. 

Ethan Ross, physician
Song: “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead
Emotion: “Elation, euphoria and wonder.”

Virginia Naples, vertebrate paleontologist
Song: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
Emotion: “Sadness and nostalgia for knowing about past events.”

Alan Boss, planetary scientist
Song: Beethoven’s Ninth
Emotion: “… the joy of being alive, at least for a while, and in spite of the struggles we face in living.”

Eugenie Scott, physical anthropologist
Song: “The Green and the Blue” by the Battlefield Band
Emotion: “Empathy and sympathy.”

Chuck Steidel, astrophysicist
Song: “Halah” by Mazzy Star
Emotion: “We used to play this around 3:30 a.m. while observing on the Mauna Kea summit, so an exhilarated exhaustion, a partial dream state.”

Holly Gibbs, conservation scientist
Song: “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
Emotion: “Anticipation and longing.”

Kevin Padian, evolutionary biologist
Song: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who
Emotion: “Rage and hope at the same time.”

Margaret McFall-Ngai, microbiologist
Song: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Emotion: “Carefree life. It makes me smile big.”

Feelings evoked by different musical genres
Source: M. Zentner et al/Emotion 2008