Google "mood and music" and you will find a plethora of studies, articles and papers, all purporting to have made a definitive breakthrough on what exactly it is that music does to our brains. This one examines its psychological functions; another reports that music "releases a mood-enhancing chemical in the brain"; a 2003 study claims that music improves mood, no matter what kind of music it is; a recent study looked at the link between aggression and "extreme metal music"; and so it goes on like this.

So, another in a long line of studies into what effects music has on our minds has surfaced. Carried out by Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Jyväskylä, at Aalto University in Finland and Aarhus University in Denmark, the study has claimed that people who listen to sad or aggressive music may experience higher levels of anxiety or neuroticism than those who listen to happier music; the findings were published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal.

The study tested the neural activity of participants whilst listening to happy, sad or fearful-sounding music against patterns already distinguished to play a part in anxiety, neuroticism and depression.

Senior author of the study, professor Elvira Brattico, explains: "These results show a link between music listening styles and mPFC activation, which could mean that certain listening styles have long-term effects on the brain."

"Some ways of coping with negative emotion, such as rumination, which means continually thinking over negative things, are linked to poor mental health," said co-author and music therapist, Emily Carlson. "We wanted to learn whether there could be similar negative effects of some styles of music listening."

She added: "[We hope our work] encourages everyone to think about the how the different ways they use music might help or harm their own well-being."

More than anything else, this study exhibits an indirect correlation between music and mental health; it is not that the music itself is creating these mental health problems, but that listening to such music is symptomatic of a root problem in one's mental health – as much as alcoholism, drug dependency, and other addictions or fatalistic ways of coping with a mental health issue. Saying "think about the different ways in which [you] use music" is very similar to telling a depressed person to go out and socialise, or get into an exercise routine – both proven ways of feeling less depressed, and ironically both the last thing a depressed person feels like doing. It is difficult to imagine any practical implementation of this study without the use of an authority figure to enforce it.

So, whilst the findings are useful enough, if wholly expected, it's how they are utilised that makes a difference. Will teachers now be told to be on the look-out for all kids who seem to be exhibiting signs of liking aggressive music? If a parent hears their child listening to sad music on a regular basis, will they step in to ask what's wrong? And if somebody with a penchant for sad or aggressive music decides to start making music themselves, should they be told to stop?