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Med Sci Monit. 2003 Sep;9(9):CR396-9.

The effects of auditory perception and musical preference on anxiety in naive human subjects.

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  • 1The Long Island Conservatory, 1125 Willis Avenue, Alberton, NY 11507, USA.



The use of music as a method of relieving anxiety has been studied extensively by researchers from varying disciplines. The abundance of these reports focused on which genre of music best aided in the relief of stress. Little work has been performed in the area of auditory preference in an attempt to ascertain whether an individual's preferred music type aids in their anxiety reduction at levels greater than music that they have little or no propensity for.


In the present report we seek to determine whether naive human subjects exposed to music of their preference show a decrease in anxiety, as measured by systolic and diastolic blood pressure values. We furthermore contrast these values to those obtained during non-preferred music listening.


We found statistically significant reduction of anxiety levels only when subjects were exposed to their preferred musical selections.


Students participating in the study already had knowledge of what genre of music would best relax them. It is our belief, that within the general population, many people do not have this self understanding. We conclude that music therapy may provide a mechanism for this self-understanding and subsequently help alleviate anxiety and stress.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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