Presentation by Dr. Séverine Samson
Music synchronization and social interaction in Alzheimer’s disease
Abstract: Multitudes of studies support that musical interventions in patients with neurodegenerative studies, in particular with Alzheimer’s disease, positively affect various domains of their wellbeing – emotional, cognitive, and behavioural – and, also reduce the distress of caregivers. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. In this presentation, I will propose the idea that rhythmic entrainment induced by listening to music, including synchronized movements with musical rhythms, might contribute to the efficacy of music-based interventions in these patients. I will also discuss how aligned actions to rhythmic sounds could be modulated by the presence of a partner, and more generally by the social environment, suggesting a link between synchronization to musical rhythm and interpersonal coordination. Finally, I will present a method to measure rhythmic entrainment in the elderly that could be used in future research to increase the intervention efficacy in pathological aging.
Bio: Séverine Samson, Ph.D., is a cognitive neuropsychologist and a Professor of psychology at the University of Lille in France and is in charge of the pre-surgical neuropsychological evaluation of epileptic patients in an Epilepsy unit (Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris). In Lille, she developed neuropsychology training programs specialized in cognitive rehabilitation. Her research focuses on the neurobiological bases of perception, memory and emotion using methods from cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, psychophysiology and neuroimaging. More specifically, she used music as a framework for understanding the functioning of human memory and emotions. This evolution has led her to experimentally investigate potential therapeutic applications of music in the rehabilitation of cognitive and affective disorders. She addresses her research questions by analysing different neuropathologies of epileptic, degenerative, developmental and sensory origin. The multi-disciplinary approach used combines clinical research with the experimental rigor of basic research, at the interface of art, science and cognition.