Honors Program Theses

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2020 Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award, First Prize.

To go to the Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award page, Click here

Year of Award

2020 Award


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

M. Catherine DeSoto, Honors Thesis Advisor


Performance anxiety; Mindfulness (Psychology);


Music performance anxiety (MPA) is a debilitating and career-threatening phenomenon that occurs for many musicians in a public performance setting. As a hormonal measure of stress, cortisol has been shown to increase in musicians who are about to perform in front of an audience. It is important to study ways to keep stress within an optimal range before public performance to help musicians keep their cognitions, behaviors, and autonomic arousal at levels that help rather than hinder their performance. Mindfulness in the form of a brief guided meditation and as yoga has been shown to reduce self-reported anxiety in musicians. This study investigates if a single guided meditation can help reduce music performance anxiety (as measured by cortisol reactivity and self-reported state and trait MPA) in musicians prior to a public performance compared to those listening to a control monologue. The meditation group was not significantly different from the control group on cortisol reactivity or state MPA. However, cortisol reactivity and trait MPA moderated the relationship between meditation and state MPA in this sample. The implications of a potential moderating effect of trait MPA and cortisol reactivity are discussed.

Year of Submission



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (18 pages)



File Format