The rational-scientific mediating model (R-SMM): A framework for scientific research in music therapy

Shannon K. De L'etoile, Carolyn Dachinger, Joy Fairfield, Linda Lathroum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article presents the Rational-Scientific Mediating Model (R-SMM; Thaut, 2000), a systematic framework that utilizes neuroscience principles to guide research in music therapy. By following the R-SMM, investigators use basic research evidence to identify parallel brain processes between musical behaviors and nonmusical behaviors. These processes establish a scientific foundation for subsequent applied research by clarifying how music therapy interventions work in terms of brain function. Consequently, the RSMM helps music therapists select and provide the most effective and evidence-based interventions for their patients. This article first describes the concepts of basic versus applied research and then presents a detailed overview of the R-SMM. Finally, the model is applied to three different research questions in the following domains: sensorimotor functioning and perceptual skills as needed for communication, as well as cognitive processes related to executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalMusic Therapy Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Music
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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