Musical Features and Affective Responses to Personalized Playlists in People With Probable Dementia


American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias




OBJECTIVES: Personalized music playlists are increasingly being utilized in aged care settings. This study aims to investigate how musical features influence the affective response to music of people with probable dementia. METHODS: A factorial experiment (2 × 2 × 3) was conducted to investigate the influence of tempo (fast, slow), mode (major, minor), and lyrics (none, negative, positive). Ninety-nine people with probable dementia were randomly assigned to 3 conditions, listening to 3 personalized playlists. Galvanic skin response and activation of facial action units were measured. RESULTS: Music with fast tempos increased arousal and reduced enjoyment. Music in minor keys increased activation of the depressor anguli oris, suggesting increased sadness. Lyrics had no significant effect on response. DISCUSSION: The findings demonstrate that both tempo and mode influenced the response of the listener. As well as accounting for personal preferences, music for people with dementia should be carefully targeted toward the affective outcome desired.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Elderly; Long-Term Care Facility; Mood; Music and Cognition; Music Cognition; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Emotions; care homes; dementia; older people; playlists; psychosocial interventions

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type