The Geropsychology Podcast is an educational resource on all things gero-related. Listen to experts in the field talk about issues related to mental health and aging, geropsychology education, careers in geropsychology, long-term care, hospice and palliative care, caregiving, and much more.

Cognition, Mental Health, and Music in Late Life

In this episode, Dr. Jessica Strong joins me to talk about her research in the area of cognition and the effects of music training in late life, as well as the development a Mental Health and Music group therapy for older adults.

Jessica Strong, PhD, is a licensed clinical geropsychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology, with a specialty in geropsychology, at the University of Louisville. Dr. Strong recently completed an advanced geriatric fellowship at the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). Her research interests are late-life cognitive effects of early music training, cognitive decline in late life, and the use of music as a psychotherapeutic tool.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this episode, listeners will be able to:

1. Describe the late-life cognitive benefits of early music education and training.

2. Explain the difference between critical period and sensitive period of development and how this relates to music education and training.

3. Describe the difficulty with assessing the dose effect in music training research.

4. Identify ways in which music can be used as a therapeutic tool in both individual and group psychotherapy.

For further reading on topics discussed in today’s episode:

-   Strong, J. V., & Mast, B. T. (2019). The cognitive functioning of older adult instrumental musicians and non-musicians. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition: A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development, 26(3), 367-386.

-   Strong, J. V., & Midden, A. (2018). Cognitive differences between older adult instrumental musicians: Benefits of continuing to play. Psychology of Music.

-   Strong, J. V. (2015). The neuropsychological profile of older adult musicians and non-musicians: Implications for cognitive research in late life (Doctoral dissertation).

-   Deason, R. G., Strong, J. V., Tat, M. J., Simmons-Stern, N. R., & Budson, A. E. (2019). Explicit and implicit memory for music in health older adults and patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 41(2), 158-169.

-   Strong, J. V., & Midden, T. A. (2018). Music and aging from bench to intervention. Innovation in Aging, 2(Suppl 1), 848.

-   Strong, J. V. (2017). Cognitive functioning in older musicians: Benefits of training with a music ensemble. Innovation in Aging, 1(Suppl 1), 329.

-   Strong, J. V., Plys, E., Hartmann, C., & McCullough, M. (2018). Implementation of a mental health and music group in subacute rehabilitation. Innovation in Aging, 2(Suppl 1), 848-849.

-   Strong, J. V., Mast, B., Midden, A., & Leritz, E. (2018). The neuropsychological profile of older adult instrumental musicians. Innovation in Aging, 2(Suppl 1), 338.

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