Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Music and Health

How can musical interactions impact neural and behavioral processes? Can we isolate aspects of musical interactions that are crucial to the effectiveness of music-based health interventions? Can specific patient groups be identified for whom music-based interventions are most likely to be effective?

Rebecca Schaefer



The use of music in clinical settings is an age-old practice, however only few of these methods have been scientifically evaluated or understood. Although the application of music to health was long considered non-scientific, its highly prevalent use, together with increasing evidence of replicable neurological responses to music, calls for systematic clinical investigations. Given that music provides a complex, emotionally charged stimulus, with many aspects that may drive any observed effects (i.e. perceptual stimulation, potential participatory elements, social aspects, etc.), dedicated investigations of the separate elements of musical activities promise to yield important and useful results with implications for future intervention design.

Our projects on music, health and well-being include investigations in to musically cued movement in rehabilitation contexts, effects of music listening and participation in healthy aging and dementia, applications of musical imagery, and more. In these projects, we make use of brain imaging methods (EEG, (f)MRI), behavioral lab settings, and clinical paradigms.

mage credit: Scottish Music & Health Network, www.smhn.hss.ed.ac.uk
Image credit: Scottish Music & Health Network, www.smhn.hss.ed.ac.uk



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