The effects of selected classical music on self-disclosure

J Music Ther. Spring 2001;38(1):2-27. doi: 10.1093/jmt/38.1.2.


A cognitive theory of emotion and aesthetics in music suggests that listening to music is cognitively and in turn emotionally arousing. In addition a theory of inhibition and psychosomatic disease suggests that disclosing personal and traumatic information is psychologically and physically beneficial. This study examined the effect of music within a disclosure setting on the use of cognitive and emotional language in 85 undergraduates. Participants in both the background music and no music conditions wrote or spoke into a tape recorder, about the most significant event or experience of their lives. In addition to language, self-reported moods, subject impressions about the disclosure experience, and the environment were examined. Results indicate that background music had an effect on the disclosure topics chosen, promoted cognitive suggestion and expression, and increased the enjoyment of listening to classical music.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Random Allocation
  • Self Concept
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires