Influences of Listening to Music in Study Break on Brain Activity and Parasympathetic Nervous System Activity
AbstractEffective relaxation methods during and after a break from “study” (i.e., an experimental task involving a rock-paper-scissors game requiring concentration) were investigated in terms of prefrontal cortex and parasympathetic nervous system activity. Prefrontal activity was determined from changes in oxy-hemoglobin (Hb) and deoxy-Hb measured by 10-channel wearable optical topography, and parasympathetic nervous system activity was analyzed by high frequency components (HF) of fluctuations in instantaneous heart rate (IHR). In this study, we hypothesized that subjects would relax or experience reduced mental stress when prefrontal activity became inactive and/or the HF decreased. Relaxation tasks were used during the study breaks were as follows: (1) just resting (doing nothing); (2) deep breathing; (3) listening to an uplifting song; (4) listening to relaxing music; (5) listening to classical music. During study breaks in which subjects listened to three kinds of music, particularly uplifting songs, both prefrontal and parasympathetic nervous system activity tended to become inactive compared with a study break in which subjects did nothing or engaged in deep breathing. Furthermore, when the study task was performed a second time after a break involving doing nothing or listening to classical music, prefrontal activity tended to become more active in comparison with activity during the first study task.
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