Music shifts frontal EEG in depressed adolescents

Adolescence. 1998 Spring;33(129):109-16.


Recent studies have found that positive affect is associated with greater relative left frontal EEG activation and negative affect is associated with greater relative right frontal EEG activation. Further, chronically depressed adults typically display stable right frontal EEG activation. The present study investigated the effects of music on mood state and right frontal EEG activation associated with chronic depression. Fourteen chronically depressed female adolescents listened to rock music for a 23-minute session. These adolescents were compared with a control sample of chronically depressed female adolescents who were simply asked to sit and relax their minds and their muscles for the same time period. EEG was recorded during baseline, music, and postmusic for three minutes each, and saliva samples were collected before and after the session to determine the effects of the music on stress hormone (cortisol) levels. No group differences or changes were noted for observed or reported mood state. However, cortisol levels decreased and relative right frontal activation was significantly attenuated during and after the music procedure. It was concluded that music had positive effects on the physiological and biochemical measures even though observed and self-reported mood did not change.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis
  • Music Therapy*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Saliva / chemistry


  • Hydrocortisone