Yehin Cho, High-School Student (Senior), Chadwick International

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As music expands as a tool for medical therapy, physiological responses to music listening have been widely researched. However, the causal relationship remains unclear, so this study aims to investigate human brainwaves and HRV in response to listening to two songs self-composed by the researcher that contrast in internal structure. Subjects of ages 16-18 (n = 17) were each exposed to three 2.5-minute conditions—No Music, Sedative-Music, Excitative-Music—while simultaneous physiological measures were taken. Results show that low-beta brainwave power was lowest in Sedative-Music condition while highest for Excitative-Music (p = 0.027). Similar trends were observed with HRV, for Low-Frequency (p = 0.027) and Low-Frequency/High-Frequency ratio (p = 0.043). The findings demonstrate that listening to sedative, pleasant music decreases low-beta brainwave power and Low-Frequency of HRV—both indicative of stress or anxiety levels. Therefore, it is suggested that this relaxation effect of sedative-music can be used as a therapeutic means in medicine.

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