Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes
Ulster University Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Investigating the neural dynamics of the therapeutic process in addiction treatment - emotions, craving and state dependent recall.

Project Description

Music therapy (MT) is a successful treatment for various illnesses, including addiction. Studies report positive effects of Music-based and MT interventions, but results are inconclusive. Drug addiction is a brain disease that targets parts of the human reward-system that are also active during listening to preferred music, suggesting that working with music may help to overcome addiction.

Certain musical cues may remind of music related drug experiences which in turn trigger craving. Therefore, working with music needs close monitoring for instances of state dependent recall. This project will investigate the neural underpinnings of music therapeutic processes during addiction treatment and capture and analyse potential moments of craving in drug addiction treatment.

This line of research is facilitated by the new field of social cognitive and affective neurosciences, including Electroencephalogram (EEG) hyperscanning of interacting brains.

The core ingredient of MT is the interaction between a client and a therapist. During MT sessions, important moments can be identified, which may represent moments of personal change accompanied by shared emotions. Utilising hyperscanning allows to capture the neural-affective dynamics underlying a potential state-dependent recall and how related craving symptoms are dealt within the interpersonal-therapeutic process.

The research will be embedded into a project collaboratively developed by CIMTR and a UK leading addiction treatment centre. Treatment outcome will be evaluated with various pre/post psychometric instruments and resting-state EEG. EEG Hyperscanning will be recorded during the MT treatment. A neural marker indexing affective behaviour and shared emotional states will be used. Additionally, we explore whether increased neural synchronisation between addicted clients and therapists occurs during MT and its relation to the perceived therapeutic alliance and treatment success.

This project will help to better understand music therapy in addiction treatment, potentially leading to improvements in mental health care delivery in the future.

To discuss a research project, please contact Prof Jorg Fachner on email .

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject is desirable.


You can apply via our landing page We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 9 February. Applications missing the project reference number will be rejected as will applications for multiple studentships.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the studentships, please contact Becky Kraszewski on 01245 684920, or email .

Documentation required

You will also need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

1) Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
2) Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project
3) Passport and visa (if applicable)
4) English Language qualifications (if applicable)
5) Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s studentship awards which covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and conditions

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.