An experimental investigation of the effects of preferred and relaxing music listening on pain perception

  • Mitchell L
  • MacDonald R
  • 81


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 65


    Citations of this article.


This study investigates the effects of music listening on per-ception and tolerance of experimentally induced cold pres-sor pain. Fifty-four participants (34 females, 20 males) each underwent 3 cold pressor trials while listening to (a) white noise, (b) specially designed relaxation music, and (c) their own chosen music. Tolerance time, pain intensity on visual analog scale, and the pain rating index of the McGill Pain Questionnaire and perceived control over the pain were measured in each condition. While listening to their own pre-ferred music, male and female participants tolerated the painful stimulus significantly longer than during both the re-laxation music and control conditions. However, only female participants rated the intensity of the pain as significantly lower in the preferred music condition. Both male and fe-male participants reported feeling significantly more control when listening to their preferred music. It is suggested that personal preference is an influential factor when considering the efficacy of music listening for pain relief. A r e c o g n i t i o n of the ubiquitous, p r e s e n c e of music a n d its status as a m e d i u m with m e d i c a l , e d u c a t i o n a l a n d c o m m e r c i a l uses has b e e n o n e of the factors m o t i v a t i n g substantial r e c e n t research in-terest i n t o the effects of music listening o n a r a n g e of psychological a n d physiological variables (Hargreaves & N o r t h , 1997; M a c D o n

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Laura A. Mitchell

  • Raymond A.R. MacDonald

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free