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The Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab and Program for Music, Mind and Society at Vanderbilt is collaborating with Vanderbilt and Nashville partners as a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab on the Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being.

Social musical experiences play essential roles in early childhood interactions. Recent research suggests that musical engagement provides a platform for developing prosocial behavior, emotional well-being, and social connection. Moreover, musical and rhythmic experiences may provide opportunities for social communication and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, more research is needed to examine if and how music may impact social-emotional development and well-being across diverse populations including those with developmental disabilities such as ASD and their families. In this National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab on Social-Emotional Development and Community Building through Music, we will conduct two studies to address the following questions:

  1. What are the social and emotional benefits of a therapeutic music program for families of children with and without ASD?
  2. What are the mechanisms by which musical engagement impacts social and emotional well-being?
  3. How does musical engagement differ across families of children with and without developmental, medical, and mental health conditions?

Studies conducted in this Research Lab include a pilot study of the SeRenade program and a national questionnaire study. For an overview of our research studies, click here.