Send to

Choose Destination
Hum Brain Mapp. 2007 Nov;28(11):1150-62.

A functional MRI study of happy and sad affective states induced by classical music.

Author information

King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, London, United Kingdom.


The present study investigated the functional neuroanatomy of transient mood changes in response to Western classical music. In a pilot experiment, 53 healthy volunteers (mean age: 32.0; SD = 9.6) evaluated their emotional responses to 60 classical musical pieces using a visual analogue scale (VAS) ranging from 0 (sad) through 50 (neutral) to 100 (happy). Twenty pieces were found to accurately induce the intended emotional states with good reliability, consisting of 5 happy, 5 sad, and 10 emotionally unevocative, neutral musical pieces. In a subsequent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal contrast was measured in response to the mood state induced by each musical stimulus in a separate group of 16 healthy participants (mean age: 29.5; SD = 5.5). Mood state ratings during scanning were made by a VAS, which confirmed the emotional valence of the selected stimuli. Increased BOLD signal contrast during presentation of happy music was found in the ventral and dorsal striatum, anterior cingulate, parahippocampal gyrus, and auditory association areas. With sad music, increased BOLD signal responses were noted in the hippocampus/amygdala and auditory association areas. Presentation of neutral music was associated with increased BOLD signal responses in the insula and auditory association areas. Our findings suggest that an emotion processing network in response to music integrates the ventral and dorsal striatum, areas involved in reward experience and movement; the anterior cingulate, which is important for targeting attention; and medial temporal areas, traditionally found in the appraisal and processing of emotions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center