Music and Human Behaviour

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Music and Human Behaviour

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Behavioral Science, Music (BA)

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Course offering may be cancelled if fewer than 10 students enrol

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course provides an overview of the research and theory that describes the human response to music and music therapy. Students will develop an understanding of the current research around how humans have been influenced by music throughout history and ways in which music has been found to effect the human brain, body and subsequently behaviour. Theories of music in the areas of music psychology, music therapy and the evolution of music are presented and supported by experiential activities. Students do not need to have any musical expertise to participate in this course.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Identify the ways music has been found to effect human behaviour and decision making throughout history and over the lifespan
    2. Describe theories that explain the influence music has on human behaviour, relationships, cognition, physiology and emotional state.
    3. Locate and reference a range of literature sources relating to music therapy and the influence of music on human behaviour
    4. Identify and critically analyse research on a range of topics presented in this course
    5. Communicate in written form an understanding of a range of topics in this course
    6. Reflect on your relationship with music and its influence on your life to this point
    7. Describe the practice of music therapy in general and with specific clinical populations over the lifespan.
    Class Contact
    2 Lecture hours
    Music Life Story
    Type: Project
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 6
    Due Date: Early Semester
    Weight: 20%
    Task Description:
    Produce a music life story that tells the story of your life in music to date. Think about the influence that music has had on you, the songs that have accompanied you through your journey so far and why you think these songs have been with you. Make your own song list to submit and also include the story and justification with it.
    When compiling the songs and the accompanying music life story think about:
    • what music do you remember from your early childhood?
    • did anyone sing or play to you when you were young? how did this feel? how has it influenced you?
    • how did you hear music - songs sung to you live, played on CD, through videos/children's shows?
    • as you started growing up did you sing a lot? Did you make your own songs up? did you have favourite songs?
    • did you play an instrument at school? did you sing in a choir?
    • what kind of music did you listen to at school? what influened this?
    • what kind of music did your parents listen to?
    • can you think what you might be listening to in 10 years from now and why?
    Include in your story the journey you have travelled, the people who have influenced you musically and the music that has helped shape you into the person you now are, so this should include a justification for the role of music in your life and the people who brought the music to you.
    Your music life story should be between 800 - 1000 words. Your song list should include at least 7-10 songs, or as many as is relevant to you. These should be compiled in order from earliest to most recent song on a CD/DVD/itunes song list and handed in at the due date and time in at class, the assignment box or emailed to Clare.
    Literature review
    Type: Literature Review
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
    Due Date: Mid-Late Semester
    Weight: 35%
    Task Description:
    For this assignment you need to choose one of the topics below:
    Music Preference ? The literature around music preference has changed over the years as research into music and the brain has changed. Present the most recent literature you can find into the current developments in this fascinating and very engaging area of music psychology.
    Music and Youth ? There has been a lot of research around the purported links between music and youth. Present the most recent literature linking music to issues around how music affects behaviour in youth.
    Neurologic Music Therapy ? NMT is a relatively new but very exciting area of the practice of music therapy. Present the most recent literature as an overview of the development and current outcomes of this burgeoning practice.
    Select at least 10 recent case studies, book chapters and/ or journal articles that address issues relating to the topic you have chosen (NOTE: ?recent? means published within the last 10 years).
    2. Write the essay in two sections, using the selected articles as references:
    Section A (this section is worth 80% of the total mark)
    1. Provide a short overview of the critical points of current knowledge encountered in this topic. Write in such a way that you bring the reader up to date with current literature. Demonstrate you have a good understanding of the field of study and that you know the most important issues.
    2. In the introduction, you should identify the topic you have chosen and provide a context for the literature. Point out the history and the trends in the literature you have reviewed and any conflicts in theory, outcomes, evidence or gaps in research. Explain the organization of the review and if necessary why you have decided that certain literature is or is not included.
    3. In the body, you should group the types of literature (chapters, journal articles, case studies) according to common areas of research and outcomes ? this is called synthesising the literature. It is important in a literature review to not merely list the research. You will need to summarise and bring together (synthesise) the common points that you think are significant. Summarize individual studies, chapters or articles with as much or as little detail as you think supports each point. It can be helpful to provide sentences at the beginnings of paragraphs as ?signposts? pointing to the main idea being presented and then brief summary sentences throughout the review to articulate your understanding of the comparisons and analyses of the literature.
    4. In the conclusion, you should summarise by highlighting the main contributions of the studies and articles that you have reviewed. Maintain the focus established in the introduction. Evaluate the body of knowledge you have reviewed, pointing out any gaps or inconsistencies in the findings and conclude by addressing your responses to the research outlined in Section B. (1,500 words)
    Section B (this section is worth 20% of the total mark)
    Discuss your reaction to your readings using the following questions as a guide:
    How has researching this topic changed any ideas you may have previously held about this subject area? How effective is this practice of music therapy with the different populations it works with? What are the most significant aspects of the research and work in your opinion? What do you consider the most important research and development work in this area recently? Have you noticed any trends and developments emerging over time in this area? (500 words)
    Referencing style must be used consistently and appropriately. APA is the preferred Referencing Style. However, please indicate at the header of the assignment which style you are using.
    Students intending to undertake the study of music therapy should use APA style guidelines. Students not intending to do music therapy studies should use the School of Music guidelines.
    Written Exam
    Type: Exam - during Exam Period (Central)
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
    Due Date: Examination Period
    Weight: 45%
    Reading: 10 minutes
    Duration: 90 minutes
    Format: Multiple-choice, Short answer, Short essay
    Task Description: The Final Examination is worth 45% of the total mark for the course assessment and will be structured into two separate sections.
    Section A is worth 15% and Section B is worth 30% of the total mark for the course.
    Section A requires you to complete a Multiple Choice Questionnaire of 15 questions which is worth 15%.
    Section B requires you to answer three questions out of the four that are given. The maximum total marks for these three answers is worth 30% of the total mark for the course. Therefore, each answer is worth 10% of the total mark.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.