Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Ralf Greenwald

Second Committee Member

Mary Radeke

Third Committee Member

Heath Marrs


Music therapy has been used to treat a number of behavioral and emotional problems, including reducing the undesirable effects of having negative and traumatic associations with something/someone (e.g., PTSD). However, there have been no studies that have shown music therapy being used to treat prejudiced beliefs and biases. It was theorized that if music therapy has been used to help treat PTSD symptoms with great success, it is possible that those therapeutic effects could positively extend out to racial bias as well. The purpose of this ERP study was to investigate whether relaxing music could reduce implicit racial bias, specifically examining P3 brain wave amplitude differences in individuals when looking at White and Black faces. Results showed significantly larger P3 responses when looking at Black faces, compared to White faces. Participants listening to relaxing music (Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie) had a significantly less enhanced P3 amplitude. All participants completed the following scales: Internal and External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice, Motivation to Control Prejudiced Reactions, and Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale.



Included in

Music Therapy Commons