Exploring musical taste in severely autistic subjects: Preliminary data

Marianna Boso, Mario Comelli, Tomaso Vecchi, Francesco Barale, Pierluigi Politi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As a consequence of frequent limbic alterations, autistic persons could judge pleasant and unpleasant music in an unusual manner. We explored this possibility by using consonant and dissonant music (test 2) and excluded the eventuality that they could prefer other auditory stimuli by comparing familiar music to environmental sounds (test 1). In both tests, severe autistics and controls were asked to listen under two conditions (familiar music versus environmental sounds; pleasant versus unpleasant music) in a counterbalanced order while the time spent during each condition was measured. Both groups significantly preferred the musical task and the pleasant music condition. No difference between groups was detected. Results demonstrate that severely autistic subjects share with healthy people the same musical preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)00778923
ISSN (Electronic)17496632


  • Autistic disorder
  • Emotions
  • Limbic system
  • Music

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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