Music Listening Study

Observational Study

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Full Study Title: 

The effects of a listening program of autobiographically salient music on cognitive measures and underlying neural mechanisms in mild cognitive impairment: An EEG study


What is the study about?

The purpose of this study is to investigate how listening to music that is autobiographically salient affects brain processing. Autobiographically salient music refers to music that is meaningful to you and associated with your personal memories, such that when you listen to them, they make you think of a particular person, place, experience, or time period (i.e. a particular song reminds you of a memorable trip that you once took with a loved one). You can think of these songs as representing the soundtrack of your life.


Eligibility- Who can participate?

Participants must:

  • Be at least 60 years of age
  • Be generally healthy OR received a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment
  • Have adequate hearing and vision
  • Have a minimum of high school education
  • Are English speaking
  • Can provide 15 English and vocal/lyrical songs that are associated to personal memories

Time requirement

The entire study will take about 2.5 weeks.

This study involves two visits at Baycrest, approximately ~3 hrs each, separated by a 2-week, at-home, music listening period where you will listen to your personal playlist (20 mins/day, minimum 5 days/week). During the two visits, you will be asked to complete questionnaires (general demographics, musical background, and memory).  You will also be asked to complete auditory tasks such as listening to music clips. During some of these tasks, your brain activity will be recorded by electroencephalography (EEG), a non-invasive technique with no known long-term and short-term risks.


TDRA study investigator

Dr. Claude Alain

TDRA Site:


Address: 3560 Bathurst St, North York, ON M6A 2E1

Age Group:

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Target Population:


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The listing of a study on the Toronto Dementia Network (TDN) is for informational purposes only. The safety, efficacy or scientific validity of the studies listed here have not been evaluated by The Alzheimer Society of Toronto (AST) or the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA). The TDRA is an academic coalition among the University of Toronto and four memory clinics across Toronto at Baycrest, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the University Health Network. The information collected will be kept and guarded by TDRA. Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Before you participate in a study, you should make sure you understand the risks and potential benefits and discuss all options with your health care provider(s).