From classical conditioning to Michael Phelps: music applications in elite sport

Terry, Peter C. (2014) From classical conditioning to Michael Phelps: music applications in elite sport. In: 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology: From Crisis to Sustainable Well-being (ICAP 2014), 8-13 July 2014, Paris, France.


Research into the effects of music in physical activity contexts has a long history and music use has become almost ubiquitous in sport and exercise contexts. Despite the burgeoning literature on the subject, it remains problematic to make reliable generalisations about effects of music, given the paucity of comprehensive objective summaries of the research findings. The aim of the current study was to conduct a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature pertaining to the impact of music in physical activity domains from 1911 to 2012. A systematic trawl of the literature was conducted that included 13 electronic databases and manual searches of 78 relevant journals, which revealed a total of 200 relevant articles for detailed review. Of these, 106 studies met the inclusion criteria and were entered into the meta-analysis. Overall, 205 effects from 3,170 participants were derived from the studies. Using a random effects model, weighted mean effects and moderating variables were calculated using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software. Analyses showed that music was associated with significant beneficial effects on feelings (d = 0.44, p < .001), performance (d = 0.34, p < .001), perceived exertion (d = 0.28, p < .001) and heart rate (d = 0.15, p < .01). Moderator analyses showed that music effects on performance did not vary significantly according to: (a) the gender and age of participants; (b) whether music was used in an exercise or sport domain; (c) whether music was used synchronously or asynchronously; (d) whether music was researcher-selected or self-selected; and (e) according to the quality of the publication outlet. Intensity of physical activity was shown to be a moderating variable, with music providing a significant beneficial effect on perceived exertion for low- and moderate-intensity physical activities (d = 0.41, p < .001) but no significant benefit for high-intensity physical activities (d = 0.08, p = .37). The results were broadly supportive of the conclusions of recent narrative reviews of the use of music in physical activity contexts. Effective use of music was found to yield significant psychological, physical performance, perceived exertion, and physiological functioning benefits. Results of the present study will help to guide music-related interventions and future research endeavours.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Only abstracts published in conference proceedings, as supplied here. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology, Counselling and Community
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 23:47
Last Modified: 15 May 2017 23:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: elite sport; performance; music; meta-analysis
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190408 Music Therapy
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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