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      EEG-Based Analysis of the Emotional Effect of Music Therapy on Palliative Care Cancer Patients


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          Music is known to have the power to induce strong emotions. The present study assessed, based on Electroencephalography (EEG) data, the emotional response of terminally ill cancer patients to a music therapy intervention in a randomized controlled trial. A sample of 40 participants from the palliative care unit in the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona was randomly assigned to two groups of 20. The first group [experimental group (EG)] participated in a session of music therapy (MT), and the second group [control group (CG)] was provided with company. Based on our previous work on EEG-based emotion detection, instantaneous emotional indicators in the form of a coordinate in the arousal-valence plane were extracted from the participants’ EEG data. The emotional indicators were analyzed in order to quantify (1) the overall emotional effect of MT on the patients compared to controls, and (2) the relative effect of the different MT techniques applied during each session. During each MT session, five conditions were considered: I (initial patient’s state before MT starts), C1 (passive listening), C2 (active listening), R (relaxation), and F (final patient’s state). EEG data analysis showed a significant increase in valence ( p = 0.0004) and arousal ( p = 0.003) between I and F in the EG. No significant changes were found in the CG. This results can be interpreted as a positive emotional effect of MT in advanced cancer patients. In addition, according to pre- and post-intervention questionnaire responses, participants in the EG also showed a significant decrease in tiredness, anxiety and breathing difficulties, as well as an increase in levels of well-being. No equivalent changes were observed in the CG.

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          Most cited references35

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          Brain correlates of music-evoked emotions.

          Music is a universal feature of human societies, partly owing to its power to evoke strong emotions and influence moods. During the past decade, the investigation of the neural correlates of music-evoked emotions has been invaluable for the understanding of human emotion. Functional neuroimaging studies on music and emotion show that music can modulate activity in brain structures that are known to be crucially involved in emotion, such as the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, hypothalamus, hippocampus, insula, cingulate cortex and orbitofrontal cortex. The potential of music to modulate activity in these structures has important implications for the use of music in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders.
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            Affective Style and Affective Disorders: Perspectives from Affective Neuroscience

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              EEG-based emotion recognition in music listening.

              Ongoing brain activity can be recorded as electroencephalograph (EEG) to discover the links between emotional states and brain activity. This study applied machine-learning algorithms to categorize EEG dynamics according to subject self-reported emotional states during music listening. A framework was proposed to optimize EEG-based emotion recognition by systematically 1) seeking emotion-specific EEG features and 2) exploring the efficacy of the classifiers. Support vector machine was employed to classify four emotional states (joy, anger, sadness, and pleasure) and obtained an averaged classification accuracy of 82.29% +/- 3.06% across 26 subjects. Further, this study identified 30 subject-independent features that were most relevant to emotional processing across subjects and explored the feasibility of using fewer electrodes to characterize the EEG dynamics during music listening. The identified features were primarily derived from electrodes placed near the frontal and the parietal lobes, consistent with many of the findings in the literature. This study might lead to a practical system for noninvasive assessment of the emotional states in practical or clinical applications.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                02 March 2018
                : 9
                : 254
                [1] 1Music and Machine Learning Lab, Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Pompeu Fabra University , Barcelona, Spain
                [2] 2Palliative Care Unit, Oncology Service, Parc de Salut Mar, Instituto Mar de Investigaciones Médicas , Barcelona, Spain
                [3] 3Catalan Institute of Music Therapy, University of Barcelona , Barcelona, Spain
                Author notes

                Edited by: Michele Biasutti, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

                Reviewed by: Dianna Theadora Kenny, University of Sydney, Australia; Jane Ginsborg, Royal Northern College of Music, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Rafael Ramirez, rafael.ramirez@ 123456upf.edu

                This article was submitted to Performance Science, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Ramirez, Planas, Escude, Mercade and Farriols.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 01 November 2017
                : 15 February 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Equations: 2, References: 49, Pages: 7, Words: 0
                Funded by: Horizon 2020 10.13039/501100007601
                Award ID: 688269
                Funded by: Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología 10.13039/501100006280
                Award ID: TIN2013-48152-C2-2-R
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                palliative care,music therapy,eeg,emotion regulation,cancer
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                palliative care, music therapy, eeg, emotion regulation, cancer


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