By Stephen Beech via SWNS
A new music app acts as a "therapist" by creating customized playlists to help listeners care for their emotions through music.
The Emotion Equalization App surveys a person's mood and energy to create a corresponding therapeutic playlist of consoling, relaxing or uplifting tunes.
Scientists say that music has the potential to change emotional states and can distract listeners from negative thoughts and pain.
Music has also been proven to help improve memory, performance, and mood.
Man Hei Law, of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said: "As humanity's universal language, music can significantly impact a person's physical and emotional state.
"For example, music can help people to manage pain. We developed this app as an accessible first aid strategy for balancing emotions."
He said the app could be used by people who may not want to receive counseling or treatment because of feelings of shame, inadequacy, or distrust.
By taking listeners on an emotional roller-coaster ride, the app aims to leave them in a more positive and focused state than where they began.
Law, a PhD student, explained that users take three self-led questionnaires in the app to measure their emotional status and provide the information needed to create a playlist.
Current emotion and long-term emotion status are gauged with a pictorial assessment tool that helps identify emotions in terms of energy level and mood.
Energy level can run from high, medium, to low and mood can register as positive, neutral, or negative.
A Patient Health Questionnaire and a General Anxiety Disorder screening are also used to establish personalized music therapy treatments.
By determining the emotional state of the user, the app creates a customized and specifically sequenced playlist of songs using one of three strategies: consoling, relaxing, or uplifting.
Law said the consoling music reflects the energy and mood of the user, while relaxing music provides a positive, low energy. Uplifting music is also positive, but more high energy.
He added: "In our experiments, we found out that relaxing and uplifting methods can significantly move listeners from negative to more positive emotional states.
"Especially, when listeners are at a neutral mood, all three proposed methods can change listeners' emotions to more positive."
The finding were presented at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting in Nashville.
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