• Music-listening and Stress: The Effects of Music-Listening on Autonomic Nervous System Activation Prior To and During a Stress-inducing Task

      Chou, Cecilia; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Standley, Cynthia (The University of Arizona., 2021)
      Music and the arts have played a fundamental role in human culture throughout history. In the field of rehabilitative therapy and integrative medicine, music-listening has been explored as an accessible, low-cost intervention regarding stress management and stress-related health issues. The proposed study seeks to add to our understanding of music, stress, and their physiological effects, using wearable BioHarness data logger devices in the medical student population. Eighteen medical students were randomized into two groups that studied with selfselected music or no music immediately prior to a stressful school exam. Participants recorded subjective measurements of stress and anxiety prior to the study period and after the exam. The BioHarness devices recorded objective data including respiratory rate and heart rate variability, which were further analyzed with OmniSense Analysis software to approximate parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activation in each participant. We found that music-listening was associated with a lower maximum heartrate during the exam, compared to the no-music group. These promising findings, while taken from a small sample size, point to a potential benefit of music-listening on alleviating stress activation among medical students.