Project Title: 

Project Chroma

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Lab
Rice University
Principal Investigator: 
Christopher Fagundes, PhD
Project summary: 

In partnership with Musiqa, Rice University will establish a research hub for measuring the effects of music-making and music engagement on cognitive and social-emotional well-being. The Lab's keystone study—a randomized, waitlist-control trial—will examine older adults with mild cognitive impairment who will undergo a six-week course combining musical exposure, creativity, and performance. The program culminates in creation of a final composition, with participants performing to family, caregivers, and members of the community. Outcome measures will include pre- and post-intervention assessments on intelligence and cognitive flexibility; loneliness, social support, and perceived psychological stress; and neural markers such as brain modularity and flexibility. The researchers hypothesize that the program studied under the Research Lab can provide a model for addressing the need for low-cost, nonpharmacological interventions for cognitive impaired patients and their caregivers.

The research agenda will address the following research aims:

  • To study the cognitive and mental health outcomes experienced by cognitively impaired subjects receiving a music-based intervention;
  • To study the physiological (brain-based) mechanism of action for a music-based intervention in improving or slowing the decline of cognitively impaired patients; and
  • To conduct a survey of how music interventions benefits the social and emotional well-being of caregivers and affects their ability to look after their cognitively impaired charges.
Other Key Personnel: 
  • Anthony Brandt, PhD
  • Bryan Denny, PhD

For more information on this Lab, see their Research Lab webpage.

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