Research: BURNS and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 52


BURNS and colleagues, Department of Psychology, University of South Alabama, Mobile 36688, USA evaluated the effects of listening to different types of music upon physiological indicators of relaxation.



Fifty-six undergraduate students, 24 male and 32 female, mean age 21, were randomly assigned to listen either to classical, hard rock, self-selected relaxing music or no music. Participants' relaxation level, skin temperature, muscle tension and heart rate were evaluated prior to and following exposure to a music condition.


Skin temperature decreased for all conditions; classical, self-selected relaxing music and no music groups reported significant increases in feelings of relaxation.


These results partially support the hypothesis that classical and self-selected relaxing music may increase perceptions of relaxation to a greater degree than listening to hard rock music. No differences were found between different types of music upon physiological indicators of arousal. The authors discuss implications for using music to reduce stress.


Burns J et al. Perceived and physiological indicators of relaxation: as different as Mozart and Alice in chains. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 24(3): 197-202. Sep 1999.

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