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Dr. Lola Cuddy

Alumna, Psychologist, Musician, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Lola Cuddy

Dr. Lola Cuddy, submitted

Exploring the benefits of music for Alzheimer's patients

Dr. Lola Cuddy is a psychologist, musician, and United College alumna (BA 59). Following her graduation from the College (now The University of Winnipeg), Cuddy obtained a BA in piano performance from the University of Manitoba, as well as a MA and PhD from the University of Toronto.

She is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University and director of the university's Music Cognition Laboratory, which she founded in 1965.

Her research interests include hierarchical structures in music processing, pitch and timbre perception, music training and musical skills, music training and emotional sensitivity, and the role of music in neurological disorders. Her current research assesses musical memory in elderly individuals and has implications for the social environment for people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cuddy describes an 84-year-old woman with severe Alzheimer’s disease who sang old songs from her youth, joined-in when music was played to her, and twisted her face when tunes were played wrongly. Cuddy surmises that musical abilities seem to be located in brain regions unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease and that patients with dementia might enjoy living in a more musical environment.

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