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October 2021

The effect of music volume on the frequency of vocalizations of institutionalized mentally retarded persons

Journal/Book: Journal of Music Therapy. 1986; Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. National Association for Music therapy. journal article.

Abstract: Institutionalized severely mentally retarded individuals served as subjects in a study to observe the effects of no music, soft music (60dB) and loud music (90dB) on the frequency of vocalizations. The stimulus music used was instrumental jazz-rock. When graphed, the data showed a 37.5% decrease in mean vocalization rate during the loud music condition and a 69.5% increase in mean vocalization during the soft music condition. This study indicates that self-stimulatory vocalizations may be controlled by a non-reinforcing technique, i.e. by the loudness of background music. Manipulating music loudness, then, could facilitate speech development.

Keyword(s): institutionalized, mentally-retarded, developmental-disabilities, vocalization, frequency, effect-of-music, loudness, loudness-level, intensity, severe-mental-retardation.

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