Music and Auditory Distraction Reduce Pain: Emotional or Attentional Effects?


Music and Medicine




This study investigated the impact of pleasant and unpleasant classical music on experimental pain, compared to silence and to an auditory attention task. Pain measurements were assessed with the nociceptive flexion reflex (NFR), pain ratings, and the cold pressor test on 20 healthy nonmusician participants in a within-participant design. Results indicated that, in comparison to silence and to the unpleasant music, pleasant music increased pain tolerance to the cold pressor test, and decreased pain ratings associated with the NFR but did not reduce the NFR itself. Furthermore, the auditory attention task had pain-reducing effects comparable with those of pleasant music. The findings are discussed with respect to possible underlying mechanisms involving emotions and distraction elicited by music and auditory stimulations. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Music and Health Institute Terms

Experimentally Induced Pain; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain; Pain Score or Rating; Pain Tolerance; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures

Indexed Terms

Pain Management; Experiments; Measurement; Comparative Analysis; Nonmusicians; Emotions; Classical Music

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type