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Musical genre preferences in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Musical genre preferences in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presenter Name:Anthony Levasseur

School/Affiliation:Université de Montréal

Co-Authors:Kevin Jamey, Nicholas E. V. Foster, Krista L. Hyde, Simone Dalla Bella


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is generally characterized by a restricted range of interests, repetitive behavior and deficits in social and communication abilities. Positive outcomes of musical interventions in ASD are fostered by using individuals’ preferred music. Different factors are likely to influence music preferences in ASD. Symptom severity, verbal ability, spatial reasoning and age may influence musical taste in ASD, especially in terms of understanding musical content and using music for social bonding. In this study we examined musical genre preferences in ASD children, as a function of age, symptom severity, verbal ability and spatial reasoning. The results of 53 parent-reported questionnaires show that classical music (see also Bhatara & Quintin, 2013) and pop-rock are preferred genres in ASD compared to other genres (e.g., jazz or folk). Preference for classical music was modelled using logistic regression with various predictors including age, verbal ability, spatial reasoning, and symptom severity. The model was highly significant (p < .0001, Nagelkerke R2 = 89%) and the most important predictor was symptom severity. The probability of choosing classical music was smaller for higher severity levels. The finding that genre preferences in ASD vary based on symptom severity (social, restricted interests) can provide guidelines to select the appropriate musical material for training musical skills in ASD.

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