Music shifts frontal EEG in depressed adolescents

Tiffany Field, Alex Martinez, Thomas Nawrocki, Jeffrey Pickens, Nathan A. Fox, Saul Schanberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Recent studies have found that positive affect is associated with greater relative left frontal EEG activation and negative affect is associated with greater relative right frontal EEG activation. Further, chronically depressed adults typically display stable right frontal EEG activation. The present study investigated the effects of music on mood state and right frontal EEG activation associated with chronic depression. Fourteen chronically depressed female adolescents listened to rock music for a 23-minute session. These adolescents were compared with a control sample of chronically depressed female adolescents who were simply asked to sit and relax their minds and their muscles for the same time period. EEG was recorded during baseline, music, and post-music for three minutes each, and saliva samples were collected before and after the session to determine the effects of the music on stress hormone (cortisol) levels. No group differences or changes were noted for observed or reported mood state. However, cortisol levels decreased and relative right frontal activation was significantly attenuated during and after the music procedure. It was concluded that music had positive effects on the physiological and biochemical measures even though observed and self-reported mood did not change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
Issue number129
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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