Depression Lifted by Beethoven Piano Sonatas

The gigantic annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience is currently drawing to a close in San Diego, California with a reported 30,000+ neuroscientists in attendance. One study catching the eye of Scientific American reporters is from researchers at Alzahra University in Tehran:

…a group of researchers, noting that music therapy has already been shown to reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and improve mood in cancer patients undergoing therapy and multiple sclerosis patients, wondered if music might alleviate depression as well. It does. They took 56 depressed subjects, had them listen to Beethoven’s 3d and 5th piano sonatas for 15 minutes twice a week in a clean, otherwise quiet room — and saw their depression scores on the standard Beck Depression Scale go up significantly. [I’m sure he means down – otherwise their depression is worsening!]


By all accounts depression is not the only condition Iranian researchers have been targeting with the healing power of music. They have also been investigating its use in substance abuse, Alzheimer’s, anxiety and strokes.

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 7 November 2007

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