Measuring physiological responses to the arts in people with a dementia.

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International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, ISSN: 1872-7697, Vol: 123, Page: 64-73

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Thomas, George E C; Crutch, Sebastian J; Camic, Paul M; Submitted on behalf of the Created Out of Mind team, Wellcome Collection, London
Elsevier BV
Neuroscience; Psychology; Medicine
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review description
The dementias are a group of progressive symptoms that have multiple causes, usually caused by disease or injury of the brain, affecting higher brain functions such as language, perception, memory, reasoning and mood; they can also be associated with changes in personality. Arts interventions and interaction with the arts can create meaningful, positive experiences for people with a dementia, as well as improve quality of life. Qualitative research in particular, has been able to describe the emotional responses the arts can produce, but quantifiable changes have not been well documented. Physiological measurements such as stress hormone levels and galvanic skin response show promise in being able to quantify such responses. When taken together, these can give a picture of the kinds of physiological outcomes that are associated with positive affect and improvements in mental wellbeing in the context of arts interventions. This review provides a critical overview of the studies which measure some form of physiological outcome in response to the arts or an arts intervention in people with dementia, and indicates how future research in this area can help to broaden our understanding of the effects of the arts in dementia research and care.