Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dan Lloyd


Musical experience has been shown to impact electrophysiological response in response to sudden changes in music. The purpose of this exploratory case study is to investigate responses to a variety of continuous classical music stimuli in individuals with varying musical backgrounds, through the use of electroencephalography (EEG). Individuals were categorized as instrumentalists (5+ years of instrumental training), vocalists (5+ years of vocal training), or non-musicians (training). Participants were played a variety of classical vocal and instrumental music while an EEG was recorded. Data were then collected and analyzed using independent component analysis (ICA) and time/frequency analysis through EEGLAB. It was found that overall, both instrumentalists and vocalists had a greater electrophysiological response to musical stimuli, specifically in the frontal lobe than the non-musician. The vocalist also had a significantly greater electrophysiological response to the musical stimuli that were most similar to their experience and expertise. This indicates that expertise and familiarity with a genre of music may impact the electrophysiological response. While this only a case study with a small sample size, the results indicate that there is potential for impactful further research about how individuals of different musical backgrounds respond to a variety of continuous musical stimuli based on their experiences.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience.