September 8, 2020
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A recent study has shown that sad music has become increasingly popular, but why do people choose to listen to it, and what goes on in the brain and the body when they do so? Sam and Neil talk about music and biology and teach you some vocabulary.

This week’s question:
The music video has been around for a while, but in what year was MTV, the first dedicated music video channel, launched in the US?
a) 1981
b) 1982
c) 1983

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

Vocabulary:

can’t stand
have a strong dislike of

hormone
a natural chemical produced in the body

lactation
the process in mammals of producing milk

comforting
calming and soothing, making you feel better emotionally

what’s going on
what’s happening

an excess of
too much or a more than normal amount of something

You’ll find audio and text for download on our website:

[Cover: Getty Images]

For more English videos and English lessons to help you learn English: www.bbclearningenglish.com

Please use English when you comment.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. BBC Learning English Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Don't be sad… Dan’s going to help you clean up your English with cleaning verbs (and make you laugh)!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhBOR2nlTt8

    Reply
  2. Arshad Bahadur Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Sad music usually helps me to feel better, I do listen to sad music almost every day.

    Sadnessless songs are unable to touch my soul. Thanks, BBC Learning English for choosing such a nice topic.

    Reply
  3. abhijeet khandare Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I like and enjoy ur 6 mints videos… And "the English we speak".

    Reply
  4. Devia Kristian Tamu Ama Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    good explain

    Reply
  5. Fairy Tail Forever Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Now I know why I love sad songs….

    Reply
  6. Manh Hoang Tien Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    The music video has been around for a while, but in what year was MTV, the first dedicated music video channel, launched in the US

    who can explain for me the phrase " has been around for a while, but in what year was MTV, the first dedicated music video channel " in sentence above. thank you very much !

    Reply
  7. Mosab Cool Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Hello. This is 6 Minute English, I'm Sam.

    Neil
    And I'm Neil.

    Sam
    Do you like sad music, Neil?

    Neil
    Well, when I was younger and if I had a break-up with a girlfriend I would listen to sad songs, songs which reflected my mood.

    Sam
    And do you still listen to those songs now?

    Neil
    Not so much, but I do still like them.

    Sam
    Well, it seems as if there might be a biological reason why some of us do like sad songs. We’ll look at this topic a little more after this week’s quiz question, which is about music videos. The music video has been around for a while, but in what year was MTV, the first dedicated music video channel, launched in the US? Was it…

    A: 1981,
    B: 1982, or
    C: 1983?

    Neil
    Well…

    Sam
    What do you think, Neil?

    Neil
    I’m going to guess. Is it the early 1980s?

    Sam
    Well, yes. Care to be more specific?

    Neil
    Well… Well, it was a long time ago – I was just a small boy. I'm going to go for 1982.

    Sam
    OK, I’ll have answer later in the programme. But first, more about sad songs. Professor David Huron from Ohio State University has conducted research in this area and he discussed it recently on a BBC World Service radio programme – The Why Factor. He was looking at why some people like sad music and other people really don’t like it all, as he says they just can’t stand it. He believes it’s to do with a hormone. A hormone is a natural chemical in our bodies which can have an effect on various systems and also emotions. Listen out for the name of the hormone he mentions.

    Professor Huron
    One of the things that we were interested in was ‘what’s the difference between people who listen to sad music and who love it, and people who listen to sad music and who just can’t stand it'. In our research, it started pointing towards a hormone called prolactin. Now, prolactin, as you might have guessed from the name, is associated with ‘lactation’ from breast-feeding. When people cry, they also release prolactin. And, there are circumstances in which prolactin seems to have this comforting effect.

    Sam
    So which hormone did he mention?

    Neil
    He talked about the hormone called prolactin which he said was connected to lactation. This is the production of milk by mammals to feed their young.

    Sam
    What he noted was that this hormone can be released when people cry and in some cases this hormone has a comforting effect. When something is comforting, it makes you feel better, it calms your emotions. Let’s listen again.

    Professor Huron
    One of the things that we were interested in was ‘what’s the difference between people who listen to sad music and who love it, and people who listen to sad music and who just can’t stand it. In our research, it started pointing towards a hormone called prolactin. Now, prolactin, as you might have guessed from the name, is associated with ‘lactation’ from breast-feeding. When people cry, they also release prolactin. And, there are circumstances in which prolactin seems to have this comforting effect.

    Sam
    So, what conclusions did he make about this hormone and how it might be working? Professor Huron explains.

    Professor Huron
    So the thought was that, perhaps what’s going on is that the people who are enjoying listening to sad music are receiving some sort of excess of prolactin, and people who are listening to sad music and they just find it incredibly sad and unhelpful and they just don’t want to listen to it, maybe they’re not getting enough prolactin when they listen to the music.

    Sam
    So what is happening? Or as Professor Huron said, what’s going on?

    Neil
    Well, it seems quite simple, though I’m sure it’s very complicated. People who like sad music are maybe getting too much prolactin or more than is normal – he describes this as an excess of prolactin. And maybe people who don’t like sad music aren’t getting enough.

    Sam
    So, the idea is that prolactin is a hormone which we find comforting. If our bodies release it when we hear sad music, it gives us a good feeling – but if prolactin isn’t released or there isn’t enough of it, we just find the sad music sad and it doesn’t help to cheer us up.

    Neil
    I guess so, but you know emotions are funny things – it’s weird to think that our feelings are caused by different natural chemicals that run around the body. Absolutely! OK, we’re going to take another look at today’s vocabulary but first, the answer to this week’s quiz. The music video has been around for a while, but in what year was MTV, the first dedicated music video channel, launched in the US? Was it…

    A: 1981,
    B: 1982, or
    C: 1983?

    And Neil, you said…

    Neil
    I said it was definitely the early 80s.

    Sam
    Well, you’re not wrong there, but which year exactly?

    Neil
    ‘82?

    Sam
    Ah well, you’ll need to dig out a sad song to make you feel better now because the answer was 1981.

    Neil
    Oh dear, I can feel my prolactin levels dropping already!

    Sam
    I’m sure you can’t! But let’s move on to vocabulary. If you can’t stand something, it means you really don’t like it.

    Neil
    A hormone is one of the body’s natural chemicals.

    Sam
    And the hormone prolactin is connected with lactation, which is the production of milk by mammals.

    Neil
    Something that is comforting makes you feel better emotionally.

    Sam
    The phrase what’s going on has a very similar meaning to 'what’s happening'.

    Neil
    And an excess of something is 'too much or a more than normal amount of that thing'.

    Sam
    Well, before you have an excess of our company, we should wrap up. Thanks for listening and we hope you’ll join us again soon. As ever, don’t forget that you can find more from the BBC Learning English team online, across social media and on our very own app! Bye for now!

    Neil

    Goodbye!

    Reply
  8. Chippi Chippi Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Sad songs tug at my heartstrings

    Reply
  9. Encourage Choi Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I studied this 6M-english.
    First, I listened several time until I could listen new vocabularies without reading this transcript.

    Second, Even though I did this first way studying , I still didn't listen, I read this transcript. Then I found new words and Some words in the dictionary.

    Third, I try to read and translated this script simultaneously

    Fourth, I recorded My voice two times.
    First one is slower than standard version that is followed this video.
    Second one is standard version that is followed this video.
    I linked My voice that recording.
    https://youtu.be/kkatWirCuHQ

    Reply
  10. Анжелика Лепкина Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Great video! I didn't know, that our tastes depend on hormones. Certainly I have an excess of prolactin.

    Reply
  11. Bảo Vy Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks to BBC learning English!

    Reply
  12. son phan Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Comforting: it make you feel better

    Reply
  13. Jasiah Benson Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    🔥🔥🔥🔥
    are you still listening in march
    This performance is lovely
    1:01 💞💘
    👇 👇🔥💃

    Reply
  14. Rafael Quintana Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I don't like the voice that says "6 minutes English" I feel that the narrator have mucus in his throat

    Reply
  15. Karen Ng Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    That's exactly me!!! I really fall for sad loving songs 🎶 is it because of the hormone?? Maybe I just enjoy the feeling of being sorrow in some particular situations. Yep, it's a kind of emotional therapy

    Reply
  16. Михаил Уфимцев Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Your content is always interesting. Thanks for your work.

    Reply
  17. Jackie Chen Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Hello everyone!
    I would like to find a partner who wants to improve english speaking skill together .
    Many thanks!

    Reply
  18. Disha sha Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks a lot BBC Learning English team , I'm from India and I everyday listen to your audio podcast , your channel is amazing , I Love it

    Reply
  19. Lord King Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks
    Sam and
    Neil

    Reply
  20. Yire life Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    HI! I have a skype group for people who want to practice speaking, if you wanna to join us tell me your skype name.We talk about these kind of topics,like this video,thanks

    Reply
  21. dream it possible Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks so much BBC team
    Well done

    Reply
  22. Âm Nhạc Và Cuộc Sống Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Bolero is the best kind of sad music in Viet Nam

    Reply
  23. Trường Vũ Nguyễn Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    It touchs my emotion!

    Reply
  24. Buthaina Najjar Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    You are amazing . Your six minutes equals hours .Thank you for your great effort

    Reply
  25. Buthaina Najjar Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    you are amazing ! Your six minutes equals hours . Thank you for your great effort

    Reply
  26. Ahmed Basim Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I have a problem with listening skill, I don't know how these videos would be useful for me generally .. can you help me? please .. what should i do exactly ? just listen ? watch and listen , write new words ?

    Reply
  27. hang truong Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    i learned some new words : can't stand sth= really don't like sth, excess of sth means more than normal or too much, lactation conected to milk of mamals and what's going on means what's happening. thanks a lot

    Reply
  28. Audio Book Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Hello I am from India..Thank you BBB Learning English

    Reply
  29. MASSIMO BONASONI Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    is it possible to get a tapescrit of the conversation? it would be very usueful

    Reply
  30. tgchan Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you, BBC. 💚

    Reply
  31. Bibi Bouba Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Best programme ever😍

    Reply
  32. Lam Phung Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    How can I get transcription of this video?

    Reply
  33. yaso alquaiti Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks nail and rob for useful video

    Reply
  34. Albina Tologonovaa Posted on May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    💎❄✨

    Reply
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