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Binaural Beats Therapy and Mood Matching music effects on Heart Rate Variability and cognitive functions


This study aims to design a new paradigm to support cognitive performance while regulating emotion and optimising cardiorespiratory physiology. The new paradigm will combine Binaural Beat Therapy (BBT) with music and will assess the outcomes in terms of cognitive performance and heart rate variability (HRV).


Binaural Beats Therapy (BBT) has been demonstrated beneficial in people suffering from pain, headache/migraines, PMS, and behavioural problems. This positive effect could be detected even after one session of BBT. Studies in the field showed that the presentation of binaural auditory beats in the Beta frequency (16 and 24 Hz) can affect psychomotor performance and mood. This technology may have applications for the control of attention and arousal and the enhancement of human performance.


BB are usually used with an addition of a carrier tone, which can be thought of as an “external layer” of sound, that makes it more pleasant for the listener to remain exposed to the BB. This sound layer can either be white noise or music. In this study we aim to combine BBT with a mood-matching/non-matching music and address the potential combined effect on cognitive performance and HRV, compared with no music or no BBT intervention.


Music has been shown for decades to have a powerful effect on physical healing and mental states. The “Mozart Effect” hypothesis related to music in general as the trigger for improved cognitive performances based on increased arousal, but a more recent model (Franco et al. 2014; Swaine, 2014) show that it is rather the question of whether the ‘emotion’ that is perceived by the listener to be expressed by the musical signal matches the mood (affective) state of the listener, that actually determines optimised arousal and increased attentional resources, which in turn can improve cognitive and physical conditions.


The dependent variables of this study will be measures of mood, cognitive performance and cardiorespiratory physiology. Studies in adults have demonstrated a relationship between lowered heart rate variability (HRV) and anxiety, stress and poor health. For example, children with chronic pain had significantly lower resting HRV compared to healthy children. Hence HRV /RSA will be the physiological measure selected in this research.

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