Article

A Cognitive-Attentional Perspective on the Psychological Benefits of Listening

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Contemporary developments in psychotherapy include mindfulness-based interventions and metacognitive therapy. Both of these approaches incorporate attentional training exercises and meditative activity designed to help clients cope better with rumination, worry, and over-analytical conceptual thinking. Notably, they also use focused listening exercises within established, demonstrably effective treatment protocols. These related practices collectively highlight the promising role of listening, sonic awareness, and mindfulness of sound/music as a means to enhance psychological functioning. Moreover, the paradigm provides a cognitive-attentional framework for understanding the well established, salutary benefits of music listening and may appeal to those many professionals who work in cognitive-behavioral modalities. Examples of clinical materials based on these models are included.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Similarly, music therapy programs have included mindfulness as a therapeutic technique (Baylan et al., 2018;Lesiuk, 2015). Although there is anecdotal evidence and general understanding of the type of music that supports mindfulness practice (i.e., slow, repetitive, legato music), empirical investigation of the use and impact of music on mindfulness meditation is only emerging (Dvorak & Hernandez-Ruiz, 2019;Eckhardt & Dinsmore, 2012;Goldberg, 2015;Graham, 2010;Hernandez-Ruiz & Dvorak, 2020a;Hernandez-Ruiz & Dvorak, 2020b;Hernandez-Ruiz et al., 2020;Lesiuk, 2016). Music therapy practice may benefit from research that identifies the best musical stimuli for interventions (Hanson-Abromeit, 2015). ...
Article
Mindfulness has become increasingly common in therapeutic and non-therapeutic venues as a way to address stress, change, and uncertainty, such as in the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of music in mindfulness is apparent in several traditional and Western practices but has little research regarding its effect in novice practitioners. In an online course-based research experience, a group of student researchers, a graduate research assistant and two faculty members recruited 54 healthy participants within their social networks, to investigate the effect of a music stimulus on one mindfulness exercise and the feasibility of implementing this intervention in virtual sessions. Participants attended two virtual group sessions where student researchers and a faculty member/research assistant provided online questionnaires and links to a 20-minute meditation recording, either with or without music, as the two conditions. Potential moderators of the intervention included stress in the previous month and absorption in music. A repeated-measures ANCOVA indicated no significant differences among conditions, and no interaction with stress or absorption in music. Although contrary to our expectations, the lack of significant differences between conditions indicate that music did not distract from a mindfulness meditation, and that the music and guided mindfulness stimulus was as efficacious as the guided mindfulness alone. Given the potential for music to become a distractor for novice practitioners, this finding is important and in line with our theoretical framework. Online delivery of this intervention was feasible and apparently effective. Suggestions for implementation of online research and intervention delivery are included.
... Sound and music are used in mindfulness meditation and may be an integral part of different practices (Baylan et al., 2018;Bell, McIntyre, & Hadley, 2016;Diaz, 2011;Kabat-Zinn, 1990;Lesiuk, 2016). However, empirical investigation of the use and impact of music on mindfulness meditation is scarce (Dvorak & Hernandez-Ruiz, 2019;Eckhardt & Dinsmore, 2012;Goldberg, 2015;Graham, 2010;Hernandez-Ruiz, Dvorak, & Weingarten, 2020;Lesiuk, 2015). To illustrate an example, we review Lesiuk's (2015Lesiuk's ( , 2016 work in an innovative Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy program for women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer. 1 Based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), Lesiuk (2016) designed and led music interventions where participants practiced elements of the program and transferred them to daily life through music interventions, and where music was the essential tool for the practices. ...
Article
Mindfulness meditation has frequently used sound and music as an important component. However, research on effective music stimuli is scarce. After a series of studies evaluating the most effective, useful, and preferred auditory stimuli, we were interested in exploring whether these effective musical features were transferred to new music. In this study, we evaluate our original music stimuli with three new stimuli composed under similar principles. Non-musician and musician participants (N = 114) in a multisite study evaluated their mindfulness state after listening to four music stimuli, and rated their usefulness and preference. Results from a repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) at each site indicated no significant difference in mindfulness effectiveness. Friedman’s ANOVAs for the usefulness of the music stimuli showed similar non-significant results in both sites. A mixed model among sites did not show significant differences among groups. Preference rankings were not significantly different for non-musicians, but musicians did show a statistically significant preference of the Original stimuli over Stimulus 2, probably due to sound quality. These results indicate the feasibility of transferring previously researched and effective musical features to new stimuli. Identifying the effective “active ingredients” of music interventions may be one way of supporting evidence-based practice in music therapy.
... Sound and music are used in mindfulness meditation and may be an integral part of different practices (Baylan et al., 2018;Bell, McIntyre, & Hadley, 2016;Diaz, 2011;Kabat-Zinn, 1990;Lesiuk, 2016). However, empirical investigation of the use and impact of music on mindfulness meditation is scarce (Dvorak & Hernandez-Ruiz, 2019;Eckhardt & Dinsmore, 2012;Goldberg, 2015;Graham, 2010;Hernandez-Ruiz, Dvorak, & Weingarten, 2020;Lesiuk, 2015). To illustrate an example, we review Lesiuk's (2015Lesiuk's ( , 2016 work in an innovative Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy program for women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer. 1 Based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), Lesiuk (2016) designed and led music interventions where participants practiced elements of the program and transferred them to daily life through music interventions, and where music was the essential tool for the practices. ...
Article
Mindfulness is a natural human capacity to be aware of the present moment, without judgment, rejection, or attachment to it. Cultivating a mindful state has been related to improvements in mood and stress management. Mindfulness practices may be enhanced with music. The purpose of this study was to replicate a previous study regarding the effectiveness, preference, and usefulness of different auditory stimuli for mindfulness practice. Undergraduate nonmusicians (N = 53) listened to 4 different auditory stimuli of increasing complexity, guiding them in a mindfulness experience. Participants rated their mindfulness experience, provided data on their absorption in music, and ranked auditory stimuli according to preference and usefulness for mindfulness practice. A within-subjects design was used to compare the four conditions, counterbalanced, and randomized across participants. Similar to the original study, Friedman analysis of variances (ANOVAs) and post hoc analyses indicated that participants ranked the Melody and Harmony conditions as most preferred and useful. Different from the original results, the repeated-measures ANOVA of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale scores did not reveal significant differences among auditory stimuli for mindfulness experience. These results provide support for the use of music in mindfulness experiences with a mildly complex stimulus (script, beat, harmony, and melody). However, partially replicated results indicate the need to investigate the discrepancy between participants’ effectiveness ratings and preference/usefulness rankings.
... Music as a focus for mindful listening is "listening to music mindfully, observing sounds and silences, and paying attention to specific musical elements present in the moment" (Dvorak, 2019). Music becomes the object for meditation (Steinfeld & Brewer, 2015) or source of contemplation (Eckhardt & Dinsmore, 2012;Graham, 2010;Kabat-Zinn, 1990;Lesiuk, 2016). Music as a focus for mindful active engagement is "playing, singing, moving, or creating music in which the participants observe, describe, and/or participate one-mindfully, nonjudgmentally, and effectively" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Dvorak, 2019;Linehan, 2015;Rathus & Miller, 2015;Steinfeld & Brewer, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of and preference for different auditory stimuli on mindfulness meditation in musicians. A second purpose was to compare musician responses with non-musician responses from a previous study. A repeated-measures design exposed participants to four auditory stimuli of increased complexity. Participants (N = 49) were undergraduate musicians with limited mindfulness experience. Data included absorption in music, mindfulness, and preference and usefulness of auditory stimuli. A repeated-measures analysis of covariance, with absorption of music as a covariate, found no significant differences between stimuli on mindfulness meditation according to musicians. Friedman’s analyses of variance indicated that musician rankings of usefulness and preference were significantly different among conditions. Both musicians and non-musicians ranked Melody and Harmony conditions as most preferred and most useful for mindfulness meditation. A mixed effects model with both groups indicated not only a significant effect of auditory stimuli on mindfulness but also interaction due to group status. A significant result was only obtained when the covariate was not considered. Absorption in music scores between groups was significantly higher for musicians than non-musicians. These outcomes support the hypothesis that absorption in music and music expertise may mediate the effect of a music intervention. Clinical implications are discussed.
... Music as a focus for mindful listening is "listening to music mindfully, observing sounds and silences, and paying attention to specific musical elements present in the moment" (Dvorak, 2019). Music becomes the object for meditation (Steinfeld & Brewer, 2015) or source of contemplation (Eckhardt & Dinsmore, 2012;Graham, 2010;Kabat-Zinn, 1990;Lesiuk, 2016). Music as a focus for mindful active engagement is "playing, singing, moving, or creating music in which the participants observe, describe, and/or participate one-mindfully, nonjudgmentally, and effectively" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Dvorak, 2019;Linehan, 2015;Rathus & Miller, 2015;Steinfeld & Brewer, 2015). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of and preference for different auditory stimuli in supporting mindfulness meditation. Undergraduate non-musicians ( N = 57) listened to four different auditory stimuli guiding them in a mindfulness meditation: script only (i.e., Script), steady beat (i.e., Beat), beat and harmonic progression (i.e., Harmony), and beat, harmony, and melody (i.e., Melody). This study used a within-subjects repeated-measures design with the four conditions counterbalanced and randomized across participants. Participants rated responses using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), completed the Absorption in Music Scale (AIMS), and ranked auditory stimuli according to preference and usefulness for mindfulness meditation. A repeated-measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) on the MAAS scores, using the AIMS as a covariate, indicated no statistically significant difference between auditory stimuli. However, with the AIMS removed, the analysis revealed significant differences between stimuli, indicating that levels of absorption in music may moderate participants’ responses to auditory stimuli for mindfulness meditation. Friedman analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and post hoc analyses indicated that participant rankings of usefulness and preference were significantly different among conditions, with the Melody and Harmony conditions ranked highest.
... For example, we included an active control group, listening to music, which is something that adolescents tend to do when feeling stressed or emotionally challenged [53]. A focus on listening is sometimes included in MBI, as in MBCT [51], and the partial similarity between the two interventions [81] makes these two groups comparable in terms of focus, although the focus in mindfulness is purposeful and without judgment. Another strength is that we evaluated the compliance in several steps [67]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Psychiatric symptoms and stress are on the increase among Swedish adolescents. We aimed to study the potential effect and feasibility of two Internet-based self-help programmes, one mindfulness based (iMBI) and the other music based in a randomised controlled trial that targeted adolescents. A total of 283 upper secondary school students in two Swedish schools were randomised to either a waiting list or one of the two programmes, on their own incentive, on schooltime. General psychiatric health (Symptoms Checklist 90), sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale) were assessed before and after the interventions. In total, 202 participants answered the questionnaires. Less than 20 logged into each intervention and only 1 performed a full intervention (iMBI). No significant differences in any of the scales were found between those who logged in and those who did not. The potential effect of Internet-based self-help programmes was not possible to examine due to low compliance rates. Adolescents seem to have a very low compliance with Internet-based self-help programmes if left to their own incentive. There were no associations between the psychiatric and stress-related symptoms at baseline and compliance in any of the intervention groups, and no evidence for differences in compliance in relation to the type of programme. Additional studies are needed to examine how compliance rates can be increased in Internet-based self-help mindfulness programmes in adolescents, as the potentially positive effects of mindfulness are partly related to compliance rates. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00787-017-1035-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... This exercise allows an individual to practice mindful music listening for short durations of time or as long as the tone chime sounds for. Graham (2010) gives multiple examples of meditation using music or sound as an object in his synthesis of listening-centered interventions for decreasing ruminative thoughts. One of the exercises he suggests is called sound-walk, which is done by walking through different locations and focusing solely on environmental sounds while minimizing judgments, analyses, or criticisms. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to outline and describe the development and implementation of a mindfulness-based music intervention (MBM) for decreasing depression and anxiety in patients with a cancer diagnosis. The development of the intervention is based on a translation of mindfulness practices, research, and function of particular musical elements within mindfulness practice. Initial client responses and comments about the MBM intervention are also provided. The use of mindfulness-based interventions is a prevalent offering for cancer patients in oncology settings often addressing the distress of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression by decreasing mental rumination through acceptance of present-moment experience. Music listening and playing can facilitate mindfulness, whereby music assists with improving attention and memory, and increasing positive emotions, acceptance, and motivation. Development and limitations of the outlined intervention, recommendations for future studies, and additional clinical applications are explored.
... While mindfulness practice usually calls for attention to one's breath, other stimuli, including auditory stimuli can serve as a source of contemplation. Graham [21] provided a mindful-music and mindful-environmental sound listening guide for readers and recommended the exploration and investigation of preferred music stimuli as a source of focus for mindfulness practice. Music and mindfulness significantly enhanced attention in women with breast cancer [22], addressing common cognitive problems associated with chemotherapy treatments, alias "chemo-brain" [23][24][25]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Problems with attention and symptom distress are common clinical features reported by women who receive adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. Mindfulness practice significantly improves attention and mindfulness programs significantly reduce symptom distress in patients with cancer, and, more specifically, in women with breast cancer. Recently, a pilot investigation of a music therapy program, built on core attitudes of mindfulness practice, reported significant benefits of enhanced attention and decreased negative mood and fatigue in women with breast cancer. This paper delineates the design and development of the mindfulness-based music therapy (MBMT) program implemented in that pilot study and includes clients’ narrative journal responses. Conclusions and recommendations, including recommendation for further exploration of the function of music in mindfulness practice are provided.
... З огляду на вказане вище, ефективним засобом розширення комунікативних можливостей людини постає музична психотерапія: навчаючи сприйняттю тонких невербальних стимулів та емоційних нюансів, вона сприяє відновленню соціальних зв'язків. За даними нейропсихології, слухова система є одним з найважливіших сенсорних каналів, який пов'язує людину зі світом (Graham, 2010). Сприйняття мозком збудження слухових рецепторів в процесі слухання музики є більш інтенсивною діяльністю у порівнянні зі сприйняттям збудження від інших рецепторів. ...
Book
Full-text available
У навчальному посібнику узагальнені літературні дані з теорії, історії та практичних аспектів застосування музикотерапії як одного з напрямів інтегративної медицини. Для лікарів-слухачів закладів (факультетів) післядипломної освіти.
... Moreover, we listen to music cognisant of it's designed emotive effects and with an intention to watch our emotions rise and fall with the nuance of the music and the network of its associations in our minds. Music listening places us in observational mode, alert to and accepting of emotion and experience as it arises within us [1]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A model of the practices that emerge from the interface of music and medicine is presented. Categories include the treatment of medical problems of musicians, music in medical and health education, music for medical patients and staff, and foundational research. Subcategories of these practices are also discussed. These practices are illustrated through a content analysis of the articles published in the first 4 years of Music and Medicine.