Electroencephalogram Features of Anxiety Relieving During Music Listening


With the fast-accelerating pace of life, most of the population is troubled by anxious feelings, or they even developed anxiety disorders, which affect their life qualities viciously. The current treatment is not without drawbacks, such as exhibiting slow or acute effects only. Music therapy has shown promising outcomes in significantly reducing tension and anxiety in many studies. To explore the underlying mechanism, we recruited 12 undergraduate student volunteers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with habits of music listening. We explored the changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectrum both during and after listening to self-select favorite music, and the relation between EEG signals and anxiety-relieving during music listening. The results showed that the power of the β band in the right parietal area was significantly higher in those who were self-report able to relax during music listening compared with those who could not get relaxed. We observed power increased in the right parietal area of self-reports, not able to relax while music playing. Also, a significant difference in θ band power in the left frontal area and γ band in the right frontal area before and after music listening was observed between high anxiety group and low anxiety group. These results imply that β band activity in the left frontal area is associated with the anxiety-relieving capability of anxiety, which provides evidence for further elucidating the mechanism underlying anxiety-relieving during music listening.

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The authors thank every volunteer who participated in this study.

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Lixian Zhou 周丽娴 or Shengtian Li 李胜天.

Additional information

Foundation item

the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81871064), and the Cross Foundation of Arts and Science of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (No. 14JCRZ01)

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Gong, Y., Zhuang, S., Zhu, G. et al. Electroencephalogram Features of Anxiety Relieving During Music Listening. J. Shanghai Jiaotong Univ. (Sci.) 26, 55–62 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12204-021-2260-1

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Key words

  • anxiety
  • music
  • electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • β band
  • left frontal area

CLC number

  • B 842
  • Q 189

Document code

  • A