The practical implication of comparing how adults with and without intellectual disability respond to music

Jeff Hooper*, Tony Wigram, Derek Carson, Bill Lindsay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


I found out how people with an intellectual disability and people without an intellectual disability reacted to different pieces of music. People with an intellectual disability reacted in the same way as people without an intellectual disability. If you have difficulty deciding the type of music that helps you stay calm, ask your parents or carers what music helps them relax when they feel anxious. The type of music they like might help you stay calm too. +Summary: Previous researchers who compared how people with, and without, an intellectual disability respond to music focused on musical aptitude, but not on arousal. This paper presents the background, methodology, and results of a study that selected fifteen different pieces of music, and compared the arousal response of adults with (n=48), and without (n=48), an intellectual disability. There was a very strong significant positive correlation (rho=0.831, N=15, P<0.001, two-tailed), which the present authors believe implies that music, identified as sedative by individuals who do not have an intellectual disability, can be used appropriately in an intervention predicated for lowering the arousal levels of the intellectually disabled population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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