Arts and Human Development Research

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The Arts in Human Development Research Compendium aims to illuminate the relationship between the arts and the brain/mind and to explore the effects of the arts on human development.

Intended as a one-stop online resource of excellent research that could help inform and shape interventions of change-makers, it provides synopses of research projects conducted at some of the world’s leading universities and institutes.

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Submitted by: Guy Hayward, Centre of Music and Science, Faculty of Music, Cambridge University. March 24, 2011.

Keywords: entrainment, rhythm, social interaction, music, emotion, phonology, evolutionary psychology



Study confirms confirms the value of music intervention to the management of chronic pain and anxiety/depression.

Guétin S, Giniès P, Siou DK, Picot MC, Pommié C, Guldner E, Gosp AM, Ostyn K, Coudeyre E, and Touchon J.

keywords: music, managing chronic pain, reduction in comsumption of medicine

Oct 13, 2011


Why would musical training benefit the neural encoding of speech? The OPERA hypothesis.

submitted by: Aniruddh D. Patel, Department of Theoretical Neurobiology, The Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, CA, USA, July 26, 2011.

keywords: music, speech, neural plasticity, neural encoding, hypothesis


Music enhanced learning opportunity for developing youth

submitted by: Robert. M. Bilder, UCLA Tennenbaum Family Center for the Biology of Creativity, June 29, 2011.

Keywords: social and emotional communication, autism spectrum disorders, youth


Music and speech perception in children and adults with neuro-developmental disorders

submitted by: Pamela Heaton, Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, April 14, 2011.

Keywords: Music perception, Autism and Specific Language Impairment


Musical Group Interaction and the Development of Empathy in Children

Submitted by: Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, University of Cambridge. March 28, 2011.

Keywords: Musical interaction, empathy, intersubjectivity, empathy measures, children, musical program


Singing "In-Time": Social Entrainment and Psalm Chanting

Improvement of Motor Rehabilitation after Stroke with Piano Training

Submitted by: Prof. Dr. Eckart Altenmüller, University of Music, Drama and Media, Hannover, Germany. March 25, 2011.

Keywords: stroke rehabilitation, piano training, fine-motor abilities, brain plasticity



Short-term Music Training Enhances Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function

Researchers have designed training methods that can be used to improve mental health and to test the efficacy of education programs. However, few studies have demonstrated broad transfer from such training to performance on untrained cognitive activities. Here we report the effects of two interactive computerized training programs developed for preschool children: one for music and one for visual art. After only 20 days of training, only children in the music group exhibited enhanced performance on a measure of verbal intelligence, with 90% of the sample showing this improvement. These improvements in verbal intelligence were positively correlated with changes in functional brain plasticity during an executive-function task. Our findings demonstrate that transfer of a high-level cognitive skill is possible in early childhood.

Research Abstract, Psychological Science, September 2011.

Hearing the music, honing the mind

"Advanced monitoring techniques have enabled scientists to see what happens inside your head when you listen to your mother and actually practice the violin for an hour every afternoon. And they have found that music lessons can produce profound and lasting changes that enhance the general ability to learn."

Article, Scientific American, November 2010. Source: Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

Why music is good for you

"A survey of the cognitive benefits of music makes a valid case for its educational importance. But that's not the best reason to teach all children music (...)".

Article, Philip Ball, Nature News, July 2010. Source: Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

Fine tunes may fine tune the brain

"Music training may bring about biological changes in the brain that could enhance music processing and even transfer to other domains."

Press Release, Nature Publishing Group, Nature Review Neuroscience, Vol. 11, August 2010. Source: Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

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