Amelia is a PhD researcher and associate lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of Kent. Prior to her current research, Amelia did her Masters of Research (MRes) and undergraduate also at Kent.
Amelia’s past three years of research have focused on the effect of music on brain activity and emotions. Specifically, she is interested in how a moment of dance music influences brain activity and emotions. This moment is a ‘Drop’; a singular section in dance music where musical features such as tempo, frequency, and rhythm build in tension to then stop/slow and dramatically deviate. For sample stimuli listen to this piece for stronger and this piece for weaker Drops (the Drops happen around 14 seconds into these samples). She uses electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in her research.
So far, Amelia has shown that Drops relate to brain activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), particularly in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), middle frontal gyrus (MFG), and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Such brain areas associate with the cognitive processing of music as well as to the experience of positive emotions. Furthermore, Amelia’s research has demonstrated that Drops evoke positive emotions, such as excitement and such emotions correlate with greater IFG and MFG activity. This suggests these brain regions are important to experiencing positive music emotions in dance music.
The end goal of Amelia’s research is to use Drops in an accessible and effective depression treatment. Her rationale is, if Drops can evoke positive emotions and brain areas associated with emotions, perhaps it can be used to aid emotions and brain activity in disorders were they are irregular, such as depression. So far, Amelia has shown that regular Drop listening for half an hour each day over two weeks can increase IFG activity and reduce depression scores to a greater degree than exactly the same music but with the Drops cut out. She concluded that Drops have the potential to help depression, but more research and advancement is needed on making a structured and accessible form of Drop music therapy.
Amelia’s research now is aiming to answer the questions regarding Drops ability to induce emotions and brain activity and their potential in music therapy. She is conducting laboratory studies to investigate whether the emotive and neurological effects are singular to Drops or occur in other types of music also (e.g. classical). She is also exploring whether the IFG and MFG are essential to experiencing positive emotions through tDCS. Alongside these lab experiments, Amelia and her team are developing an App that can be used to deliver Drops within depressed patients, so she can assess further Drops effectiveness in reducing depression and create a way to digitise and make accessible a new form of music therapy. For further information on this App please refer to javadilab.com/Skye.
- EEG and tDCS
- Music psychology
- Mental Health
- Departmental Studentship
- University of Kent
- NHS Kent
Phone: 01227 824 024
1.06 Olive Cottages
School of Psychology
University of Kent