May 2019

MCCLab publishes (May 2019) new research about how musical skills and language development are linked in young preschoolers!

Politimou, N., Dalla Bella, S., Farrugia, N., & Franco, F. Born to Speak and Sing: Musical Predictors of Language Development in Pre-schoolers. Front. Psychol., 24 May 2019.


The Impact of Music on Human Development and Well-Being

Download the paper here:

Read a press release here:

May News


© F. Franco 2013

A conference paper on research at MCCLab was presented by Anthony Mangiacotti here:

Study Day and Workshop on Music, Well-being and Mental Health (Royal Musical Association, British Forum for Ethnomusicology, NAMHE), Hereford College of Arts, 11-12 May 2019


Mangiacotti, A., Hung Hsu, M., Barone, C., Di Liberto, G., Van Puyvelde, M., Biasutti, M., & Franco, F. (2019). Music Therapy in care home settings – An evaluation of cognition and biomarkers in elderly residents.

Music therapy (MT) can be beneficial for people with cognitive decline living in care homes, enhancing social-cognitive functions and reducing behavioral symptoms¹. Nevertheless, RCT studies demonstrating the effectiveness of MT are scarce and often methodologically weak, with consequent limitations in the generalizability of their results². We developed a 4-month RCT study to provide both clinical and scientific evidence, based on standardized tests, biomarkers and implicit measures (psychophysiology, brain activity, hormones).

54 elderly with mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment (MMSE range 18-23) from 5 different care homes in the UK were randomly assigned to either an experimental (MT) or active control group (Story-Telling activity). The weekly activities were based on the mood-matching approach³ and improvisational techniques.

Before/after the intervention the following assessments were conducted: [1] neuropsychological tests to measure general cognitive level, attention, verbal and spatial abilities; [2] a novel neuropsychological test was also used, to assess the cognitive functions directly stimulated by music tasks (Music Cognitive Test, Mangiacotti et al., under validation); [3] behavioral and wellbeing measurements to assess psychiatric behavioral symptoms, mood, locus of control, social abilities, motivation, life-satisfaction and quality of life; [4] as a measure of autonomic regulation, Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) was collected; [5] Salivary Cortisol/DHEA ratio; [6] EEG cortical entrainment.

Results available by May 2019 will contribute to clarify the effectiveness of musical activities to contain cognitive decline and support well-being and socio-psychological skills in the elderly population.
[1] Zhang et al. 2017