Benefits of listening to a recording of euphoric joint music making in polydrug abusers

Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Jun 11;9:300. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00300. eCollection 2015.


Background and aims: Listening to music can have powerful physiological and therapeutic effects. Some essential features of the mental mechanism underlying beneficial effects of music are probably strong physiological and emotional associations with music created during the act of music making. Here we tested this hypothesis in a clinical population of polydrug abusers in rehabilitation listening to a previously performed act of physiologically and emotionally intense music making.

Methods: Psychological effects of listening to self-made music that was created in a previous musical feedback intervention were assessed. In this procedure, participants produced music with exercise machines (Jymmin) which modulate musical sounds.

Results: The data showed a positive effect of listening to the recording of joint music making on self-efficacy, mood, and a readiness to engage socially. Furthermore, the data showed the powerful influence of context on how the recording evoked psychological benefits. The effects of listening to the self-made music were only observable when participants listened to their own performance first; listening to a control music piece first caused effects to deteriorate. We observed a positive correlation between participants' mood and their desire to engage in social activities with their former training partners after listening to the self-made music. This shows that the observed effects of listening to the recording of the single musical feedback intervention are influenced by participants recapitulating intense pleasant social interactions during the Jymmin intervention.

Conclusions: Listening to music that was the outcome of a previous musical feedback (Jymmin) intervention has beneficial psychological and probably social effects in patients that had suffered from polydrug addiction, increasing self-efficacy, mood, and a readiness to engage socially. These intervention effects, however, depend on the context in which the music recordings are presented.

Keywords: addiction; agency (psychology); exercise; mentalizing; mood disorders; music therapy.