The Irish Music Brain Research Group is an inclusive interdisciplinary research network with expertise in neuroscience, psychology, therapy, music practitioners, and education. Our aim is to build a research framework across Ireland that explores the relationships between music and the mind, from both highly theoretical and applied perspecitve, combining musicianship with advanced research methodologies. Below our some of our core research themes.
One of the overarching concerns of music psychology is how music is transformed from its acoustical features of tone, timbre, rhythm and pitch and represented in the brain cognitively in meaningful forms and patterns. This requires a great understanding of music perception and attention, and has primarily been the domain of musicologists in the past, but is now increasingly researched from a range of perspectives including music therapists, neuroscientists, musicians, cognitve scientists, artists, and psychologists.
Music and Wellness
Music is increasingly being introduced into healthcare contexts in Ireland for a range of illnesses and conditions including dementia, cancer and physical rehabilitation after stroke. Music interventions are being introduced by music therapists in collaboration with musicians, music psyhchologists and healthcare professionals. However increased focus is now being placed on trying to understand how music actually achieves these benefits, so that music listening interventions can be further improved and distributed to a wider number of patients.
With the support of the Royal Irish Academy of music TIMBRE helps to prioritise development and training within music eduation, with an aim to maximise inclusion in music education and promote the psychological wellbeing of music students. Music lessons have been shown benefit people with a range of learning and developmental conditions including but not limited to Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Parkinson's Disease, and William's Syndrome.
Music and Neuroscience
Neuroscientific methods play a big part in how we understand music in the brain, and many researchers in Ireland are actively researching these processes to understand them more clearly. This often involves using high-tech equipment such as MRI or EEG to look at brain responses while listening or creating music. Recent studies have demonstrated ways to increase people's mathematical ability thorugh music enhanced learning techniques, and several studies are now underway in the Trinity Centre for Neuroscience and University College Dublin.