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The Effects of Different Types of Music on Mood, Tension, and Mental Clarity

Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Bob Barrios-Choplin, Ph.D., Mike Atkinson, and Dana Tomasino, B.A.

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 1998; 4(1): 75-84.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of different types of music on tension, mood, and mental clarity. A total of 144 subjects completed a psychological profile before and after listening for 15 minutes to four types of music (grunge rock, classical, New Age, and designer). With grunge rock music, significant increases were found in hostility, sadness, tension, and fatigue, and significant reductions were observed in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor. In contrast, after listening to the designer music (music designed to have specific effects on the listener), significant increases in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor were measured: significant decreases were found in hostility, fatigue, sadness, and tension. The results for New Age and classical music were mixed. Feeling shifts among subjects were observed with all types of music. Designer music was most effective in increasing positive feelings and decreasing negative feelings. Results suggest that designer music may be useful in the treatment of tension, mental distraction, and negative moods.