Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Edward A, Roth, M.M.

Second Advisor

Brian L. Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. David S. Smith


Music, pain perception, pain tolerance, cold pressor test, non-pharmalogic analgesic method

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this project was to investigate the impact of differentiated onset of self-selected music on pain perception and pain tolerance during a cold pressor test. Subjects participated in four trials during which music was presented at different points of time in relation to their exposure to the cold pressor test. Results indicated that listening to music prior to and concurrently with the onset of the pain resulted in lower self-reported pain (F(3, 66) :3.25, p < .05). Behavioral results indicated that subjects were able to tolerate an average of 25s longer (F(2.04,44.81): I.56,p > .05.) when music was presented after the onset of painful stimuli. Both results have positive implications for the clinical use of music as a non-pharmalogic analgesic method of reducing pain perception and increasing pain tolerance. The onset of music as a pain mediation stimulus may be differentially indicated based on the nature of the procedure. Future research could examine the amount of pre-procedure time indicated to be most effective toward pain perception and tolerance. It is currently unknown if a longer induction period would differentially impact any of the outcome measures and if listening to a song in its entirety prior to exposure to adverse stimuli would have an impact on the outcome measures. Following controlled laboratory studies, translational research would be required to examine clinical efficacy.