Effects of mood induction via music on cardiovascular measures of negative emotion during simulated driving

Stephen H. Fairclough*, Marjolein van der Zwaag, Elena Spiridon, Joyce Westerink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


A study was conducted to investigate the potential of mood induction via music to influence cardiovascular correlates of negative emotions experience during driving behaviour. One hundred participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups, four of whom experienced different categories of music: High activation/positive valence (HA/PV), high activation/negative valence (HA/NV), low activation/positive valence (LA/PV) and low activation/negative valence (LA/NV). Following exposure to their respective categories of music, participants were required to complete a simulated driving journey with a fixed time schedule. Negative emotion was induced via exposure to stationary traffic during the simulated route. Cardiovascular reactivity was measured via blood pressure, heart rate and cardiovascular impedance. Subjective self-assessment of anger and mood was also recorded. Results indicated that low activation music, regardless of valence, reduced systolic reactivity during the simulated journey relative to HA/NV music and the control (no music) condition. Self-reported data indicated that participants were not consciously aware of any influence of music on their subjective mood. It is concluded that cardiovascular reactivity to negative mood may be mediated by the emotional properties of music.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2014


  • Anger
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular impedance
  • Driving
  • Music


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