Overview of My Research
I'm a Professor of Music Education at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Me and my team widely conduct research and teaching in music psychology, music education, and music therapy. I'm the Chairman of the Finnish Society for Music Education (FiSME), Vice-President of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM), and the European Commissioner for the ISME (International Society for Music Education) Research Commission. I currently act as a PI for an ERC-funded project MUSICONNECT. I also act as a Co-PI for a Centre of Excellence in Music, Mind, Body & Brain and a Co-PI for our University's Profiling area for the Social Sustainability for Children and Families.
I approach music as human behavior: youth development, emotion regulation, learning and well-being. My methodological expertise is grounded in psychology, but I embrace a multidisciplinary scientific approach and enjoy collaborating with experts of clinical and educational practice to neuroscience and computer science. I actively publish my findings in journals from psychology to music therapy and education.
Music as emotion regulation
I have identified how people use music to regulate their moods and developed the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) scale to measure the different strategies (e.g. distraction, solace). With my colleagues we have shown how these strategies relate to emotion induction mechanisms (e.g. memories, emotional contagion), individual differences (e.g. gender), and emotional health (e.g. depression, anxiety). We have also pioneered in identifying neural correlates of preferring certain strategies. We currently study how contextual (situational, cultural) factors explain affect-regulatory outcomes of music listening.
Music as emotion embodiment
Musical emotions and interactions are fundamentally embodied. We have shown that young people can elaborately distinguish emotional expressions in their body movement while playing music and that musical movement reflects internal states: positive mood induces fast and complex dance moves, while clinical depression creates opposite patterns. I've developed the Access-Awareness-Agency model to elaborate how music functions as social-emotional competence by allowing access to the embodied level of our emotionality. I'm currently broadening my focus to the embodied aspects of musical virtuosity and interaction.
Music as wellbeing and development
I have investigated music in the context of treating depression and as a preventative activity to support adaptive development in youth. With colleagues from music therapy I've created the Healthy-Unhealthy Music Scale (HUMS) for assessing musical behavior as an indicator of youth depression and shown how musical expression reflects youth empathy and conduct problems. I have also studied how musical perception and expression of emotions typically develops in childhood and how music functions as a means for youth self-regulation and sense of agency. We are currently addressing the cross-cultural aspects of healthy and unhealthy uses of music and the role of music in children's social development.