Mind-Manipulating Music: Using an Electroencephalogram to determine the effects of music on brain activity
Natalie Leong, Tiara Safaei
Crofton House
Floor Location : M 096 F

One method people often use to reduce their level of tension is listening to music. However, different types of music have different effects on the human brain. In order to gather more information regarding the connection between brain reactivity and music, and to determine which type of music is the most effective in reducing strenuous brain activity, an Electroencephalogram (EEG) was designed, prototyped, and assembled. The EEG uses an Arduino to record and interpret the frequency of the participant’s brain activity, which is sent to the EEG using three Electrodes attached to the participant. The frequency of the participant’s brain activity gives insight into how the sensory stimulation of sound has either a calming or stimulating effect on various parts of the brain. Furthermore, data regarding brain activity a can also be used to determine how external factors can trigger mental or internal responses, such as anxiety, which stimulates parts of the brain including the amygdala and hippocampus, resulting in an increased frequency of brain activity (typically a frequency between 18 - 40 Hz, otherwise known as beta 3 waves). In a hospital environment, operative anxiety is especially common among pediatric patients, and can negatively impact the effectiveness of a pediatric operation, or in some cases even have a negative effect on the patient’s behaviour. Since music is widely used as a destressor, effects of music on brain activity was tested by recording the brain frequencies of a stratified sample of girls and boys ages 6-12 years old. Once the average frequency of brain activity in this stratified sample without the presence of sensory stimulation was recorded, the effects of sound on the frequency of the children’s brainwaves was tested for. Specifically, the effects of piano, orchestral, heavy metal, relaxing music, as well as one song of the participant’s choice was tested in fifteen minute sectors. Additionally, a five minute pre-survey and a five minute post-survey was taken. By determining which of these types of music has a substantial effect on children’s brain activity, it can be inferred that this music will induce similar effects in a hospital environment. The anxiolytic effect of music could be integrated into pediatric preoperative procedures, not only reducing the likelihood of a pediatric operation becoming a traumatic experience for the patient, but improving recovery and the overall hospital experience for pediatric patients.