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The effect of passive listening versus active observation of music and dance performances on memory recognition and mild to moderate depression in cognitively impaired older adults


Cross, Kara, Flores, Roberto, Butterfield, Jacyln, Blackman, Melinda, Lee, Stephanie


Psychological Reports, Volume: 111, No.: 2, Pages.: 413-423

Year of Publication



The study examined the effects of music therapy and dance/movement therapy on cognitively impaired and mild to moderately depressed older adults. Passive listening to music and active observation of dance accompanied by music were studied in relation to memory enhancement and relief of depressive symptoms in 100 elderly board and care residents. The Beck Depression Inventory and the Recognition Memory Test-Faces Inventory were administered to two groups (one group exposed to a live 30-min. session of musical dance observation, the other to 30 min. of pre-recorded music alone) before the intervention and measured again 3 and 10 days after the intervention. Scores improved for both groups on both measures following the interventions, but the group exposed to dance therapy had significantly lower Beck Depression scores that lasted longer. These findings suggest that active observation of Dance Movement Therapy could play a role in temporarily alleviating moderate depressive symptoms and some cognitive deficits in older adults.;


aged, dance therapy, depressive disorder, diagnosis, female, humans, male, memory disorders, methods, mild cognitive impairment, music therapy, psychiatric status rating scales, severity of illness index, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Non randomised controlled trial

Type of Outcomes

Cognition, Depression and Anxiety


Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Arts and Music Interventions (including Art and Music Therapy), Exercise (inc. dancing)