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      Enhanced response to music in pregnancy : Enhanced response to music in pregnancy

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          Given a possible effect of estrogen on the pleasure-mediating dopaminergic system, musical appreciation in participants whose estrogen levels are naturally elevated during the oral contraceptive cycle and pregnancy has been investigated (n = 32, 15 pregnant, 17 nonpregnant; mean age 27.2). Results show more pronounced blood pressure responses to music in pregnant women. However, estrogen level differences during different phases of oral contraceptive intake did not have any effect, indicating that the observed changes were not related to estrogen. Effects of music on blood pressure were independent of valence, and dissonance elicited the greatest drop in blood pressure. Thus, the enhanced physiological response in pregnant women probably does not reflect a protective mechanism to avoid unpleasantness. Instead, this enhanced response is discussed in terms of a facilitation of prenatal conditioning to acoustical (musical) stimuli.

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          Investigating emotion with music: an fMRI study.

          The present study used pleasant and unpleasant music to evoke emotion and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine neural correlates of emotion processing. Unpleasant (permanently dissonant) music contrasted with pleasant (consonant) music showed activations of amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and temporal poles. These structures have previously been implicated in the emotional processing of stimuli with (negative) emotional valence; the present data show that a cerebral network comprising these structures can be activated during the perception of auditory (musical) information. Pleasant (contrasted to unpleasant) music showed activations of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG, inferior Brodmann's area (BA) 44, BA 45, and BA 46), the anterior superior insula, the ventral striatum, Heschl's gyrus, and the Rolandic operculum. IFG activations appear to reflect processes of music-syntactic analysis and working memory operations. Activations of Rolandic opercular areas possibly reflect the activation of mirror-function mechanisms during the perception of the pleasant tunes. Rolandic operculum, anterior superior insula, and ventral striatum may form a motor-related circuitry that serves the formation of (premotor) representations for vocal sound production during the perception of pleasant auditory information. In all of the mentioned structures, except the hippocampus, activations increased over time during the presentation of the musical stimuli, indicating that the effects of emotion processing have temporal dynamics; the temporal dynamics of emotion have so far mainly been neglected in the functional imaging literature. Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Universal recognition of three basic emotions in music.

            It has long been debated which aspects of music perception are universal and which are developed only after exposure to a specific musical culture. Here, we report a crosscultural study with participants from a native African population (Mafa) and Western participants, with both groups being naive to the music of the other respective culture. Experiment 1 investigated the ability to recognize three basic emotions (happy, sad, scared/fearful) expressed in Western music. Results show that the Mafas recognized happy, sad, and scared/fearful Western music excerpts above chance, indicating that the expression of these basic emotions in Western music can be recognized universally. Experiment 2 examined how a spectral manipulation of original, naturalistic music affects the perceived pleasantness of music in Western as well as in Mafa listeners. The spectral manipulation modified, among other factors, the sensory dissonance of the music. The data show that both groups preferred original Western music and also original Mafa music over their spectrally manipulated versions. It is likely that the sensory dissonance produced by the spectral manipulation was at least partly responsible for this effect, suggesting that consonance and permanent sensory dissonance universally influence the perceived pleasantness of music.
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              Music and emotion: electrophysiological correlates of the processing of pleasant and unpleasant music.

              Human emotion and its electrophysiological correlates are still poorly understood. The present study examined whether the valence of perceived emotions would differentially influence EEG power spectra and heart rate (HR). Pleasant and unpleasant emotions were induced by consonant and dissonant music. Unpleasant (compared to pleasant) music evoked a significant decrease of HR, replicating the pattern of HR responses previously described for the processing of emotional pictures, sounds, and films. In the EEG, pleasant (contrasted to unpleasant) music was associated with an increase of frontal midline (Fm) theta power. This effect is taken to reflect emotional processing in close interaction with attentional functions. These findings show that Fm theta is modulated by emotion more strongly than previously believed.

                Author and article information

                September 2014
                September 2014
                May 18 2014
                : 51
                : 9
                : 905-911
                [1 ]Department of Neurology; Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science; Leipzig Germany
                [2 ]Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music; University of Ghent; Ghent Belgium
                [3 ]Department of Nuclear Medicine; University of Leipzig; Leipzig Germany
                [4 ]Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy; University of Leipzig; Leipzig Germany
                © 2014


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