If you ever find yourself in a tense meeting in which clients and coworkers are finding it difficult to work together or come to an agreement, you might want to try this simple fix – play some happy music.

Researchers at Cornell University recently discovered that study participants were much more likely to cooperate and work together when there was happy music playing in the background. (The happy tunes that were played included things like “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles.) In contrast, participants were less likely to cooperate when angry music was playing (anything in the heavy metal genre). The heavy metal music tended to make them behave in a more selfish and stingy manner. Similarly, participants were less likely to cooperate when no music was playing at all.

I think it would be so interesting to see if this phenomenon would work outside of a research setting. If you played upbeat music during a tense team meeting, would it really make a noticeable difference? I would love to find out! So if you decide to give this a try, please share the results of your experiment in the Comments section below!


Wolper, J. (2016). Teamwork tunes. Talent Development, 70(12), 14.