One of the many recent Javadi Lab projects is steering the development of a novel music therapy app. Specifically the research of Amelia and other lab members explores the effects of Drops in modern dance music on positive emotions and emotive brain activity. Drops can vary in strength and between genres, for a stronger Drop listen here and for a weaker Drop listen here. Yet, all Drops share the same structure of pre-Drop, where music features such as tempo, bass, and rhythm increase and build to create tension (for an example of pre-Drop, listen here), and post-Drop where music features stop/slow to then dramatically change (for an example of post-Drop, listen here). Pre and post-Drops relate to brain activity within the prefrontal cortex which are involved in tension and positive musical emotions, such as excitement.

We suggest three important elements to experiencing positive emotions in Drops. Pre-Drops create tension as music builds to a peak where a highly anticipated predicted deviation then occurs. Fulfilled predicted moments create positive emotions in listeners. Because predicted moments are preceded with tension, resulting positive feelings are greater due to contrastive valence (positive emotions are experienced as more positive when immediately after a negative emotion).

If Drops can increase positive emotion, can they be used to help disorders were emotions are irregular? We attempted to answer this questions and investigated if Drops could aid in depression with an online intervention including daily music listening. There were two groups, one including dance music with Drops (for an example, listen here) and the other including exactly the same music but with the Drops removed (listen here for an example). Interestingly, depression did improve in both groups, but more so in those who heard the Drops.

This brings us to the app, currently named Skye. It aims to use music with Drops as an additive therapy to those with disorders, such as depression. It will be a novel platform to administer preselected music to a wide range of users. Thus making treatment more accessible, applicable and cost effective. It will also offer the opportunity for us to further assess potential Drop benefits on emotion and disorders like depression.

Keep a look out! – The App is in current development and will be coming soon!

If you would like more information or to be involved in this research, contact Amelia