Music and Emotion in Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer's Research & Therapy




BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease may compromise several musical competences, though no clear data is available in the scientific literature. Furthermore, music is capable of communicating basic emotions, but little is known about the emotional aspect of music in patients with Alzheimer's disease. We present a systematic investigation of music processing in relation to extra-musical skills, in particular emotional skills in patients with Alzheimer's disease. METHODS: We tested 30 patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer's disease and 30 control subjects. We essentially evaluated (a) musical competences, using the extra-linguistic test, Solfeggio test and the recognition test of musical emotions-elaborated by our research team-and the Seashore test, and (b) emotional capacities using emotional memory and emotional prosody tests-made by our research group. RESULTS: We significantly observed lower total results of every test assessing cognitive, emotional and music competences in Alzheimer's disease patients than those in control subjects, but the score of musical emotion recognition test did not reach to a significant difference between the subjects groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings found a global impairment of music competences in Alzheimer patients with cognitive and emotional troubles. Nevertheless, the performances in the recognition test of musical emotions showed a trend towards a performance difference. We can suggest that Alzheimer's disease currently presents an aphaso-agnoso-apractic-amusia syndrome.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Anxiety; Cognitive Abilities; Depression; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Memory; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Alzheimer Disease; Auditory Perception; Emotions; Learning; Recognition, Psychology; Severity of Illness Index; Social Perception; Verbal Behavior; Dementia; Emotion; Memory; Prosody

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type