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Saturday, September 05, 2015

New program set to explore effects of music on the mind

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"Vanderbilt University is seizing the opportunity to become a hub for music research in the heart of Music City." writes Matt Batcheldor, Vanderbilt University News.

Leading music cognition researchers gathered recently at Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music for the biennial meeting of the Society of Music Perception and Cognition, sponsored in part by the Program for Music, Mind and Society at Vanderbilt. 
Photo: Vanderbilt University News

A cross-disciplinary team that includes five different schools or colleges at Vanderbilt was recently awarded $200,000 in Trans-Institutional Program (TIPs) funding over the next two years to create a new program to study the effects of music on the mind.

The Program for Music, Mind, and Society at Vanderbilt will harness the teaching and research resources of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Peabody College, College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering and the Blair School of Music. It will become a centralized infrastructure to support current research about the science of music and inspire new cutting-edge research collaborations.

“There is no other university in the nation better poised with relationships of faculty talent, music interest and location to create such a special program,” said the program’s lead organizer and principal investigator, Ron Eavey, M.D., the Guy M. Maness Professor and chair of Otolaryngology and director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.

Scientists know that music inspires people, changes their mood and affects their behavior. The program will allow them to delve deeper into the science behind that, including behavioral studies and neuroimaging, bringing together multiple disciplines, including Psychology, Neuroscience, Medicine, Education and Music Performance. The program is creating seminars, research discussion groups, online tools and outreach projects to facilitate these aims.

Photo: Elisabeth Dykens
“We’re entering a new frontier of research on music and the mind,” said program investigator Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., the Annette Schaffer Eskind Professor and director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. “And where better can we do this than in Music City, USA and within a great research university? Music holds great promise as a therapeutic tool to treat a variety of brain disorders such as autism or language impairments. Music can also be a strength for individuals with developmental disorders, as it is in Williams syndrome. We have so much to discover.”

Source: Vanderbilt University News