Lamont, A (2021) Making a Difference with Music Psychology Research: Strategy, Serendipity, and Surviving a Global Pandemic. Music & Science, 4. ISSN 2059-2043

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<jats:p> The COVID-19 pandemic has forced researchers around the globe in every discipline imaginable into a position, where they have to provide justification for the relevance of their work. This represents a sharp acceleration in an underlying trend toward demonstrating greater impact for research, as evidenced in the UK by assessments such as Pathways to Impact statements in grant applications and Research Excellence Framework (REF) Impact Case Studies. Music psychology is ideally positioned at the nexus of a number of different larger fields to afford strategic relevance of some kind, and some work is more obviously placed to do so, such as the many intervention projects harnessing instrumental benefits of music which are explicitly designed to improve people’s lives. However, I argue that the fundamental power of music (in and of itself as well as in other areas) provides everyone in the field with inherent potential impact. Using the case study of a recent project, I am leading on people’s favorite music choices, which turned into something of value to many of its participants almost overnight, I illustrate how serendipity can be developed into strategy. Drawing on insights from analysis of people’s accounts of their favorite music, I show how the fundamental premise that music matters to people gives music psychology research a head start in its quest for relevance, placing this in wider debates about the relevance of music, the arts, and culture to post-COVID-19 life. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Uncontrolled Keywords: impact, COVID-19, research design, case study, preferred music
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF173 Psychoanalysis
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2021 13:38
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2021 13:38

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