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Christian Gold

Research Professor

+47 56 10 72 32
+47 975 01 757
Nina Griegs gt. 4, 5015 Bergen, Norway

My scientific work is about connecting randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and social/cognitive/affective neuroscience to understand how cultural activities such as music can be used to promote health. My current research can be described as translational, in several ways: translating between basic and applied research; between clinical and statistical thinking; between languages and cultures.

I spent the first decade of my career with music and music therapy; the second with clinical trials and biostatistics; and the third with neuroscience. I moved from Germany to Vienna to study music; then went to Scandinavia to conduct clinical research with direct societal relevance; and then connected back to Central Europe to integrate aspects of basic research. My PhD, a large non-randomised study, taught me the importance of large samples and of randomisation. Over the years, I have conducted or contributed to RCTs across many countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey, UK, USA). Randomisation is the best way to separate cause and effect, but while large, simple RCTs can provide definite answers to simple questions, we also need to find ways to address the fact that complex interventions are always changing. Therefore, I am very interested in RCT designs that go beyond the traditional simple trial design – biomarkers, adaptive designs, flexible manuals – while also recognising that each adaptation adds complexity.

Current roles:

  • Research Professor, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, Bergen, Norway
  • Professor II, Grieg Academy Department of Music, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Professorial Research Fellow and Project Staff, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Vice head of GAMUT (twin centre of NORCE and University of Bergen)

Additional contact information:

Bergen office, postal address: NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, Postboks 22 Nygårdstangen, 5838 Bergen, Norway
Vienna office: Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria. Phone: +43-699-11240657

Current projects:

  • M4A: Music for Autism: Binational trial of music versus play to improve communication, participation, mental health and brain connectivity in children on the autistic spectrum (NCT04936048)
  • ALMUTH: ALzheimer and MUsic THerapy: Effects of Music Lessons on Brain Plasticity, Mood, and Quality of Life in Alzheimer Patients (NCT03444181)
  • LongSTEP: Longitudinal study of music therapy's effectiveness for premature infants and their caregivers (NCT03564184)
  • MIDDEL: Music interventions for dementia and depression in elderly care home residents (NCT03496675)

Completed projects:

  • No Pain No Gain: Internal Mechanisms of Integrative, Improvisational Music Therapy in the Treatment of Depression (ISRCTN11618310)
  • Shared Moments: The quality of the relationship as outcome predictor in music therapy with children with autism spectrum disorder (based on ISRCTN11618310)
  • TIME-A: Trial of Improvisational Music therapy's Effectiveness for Autism (ISRCTN11618310)
  • HUMS Trial: RCT and scale development study of music therapy for adolescents in schools (with the University of Melbourne, funded by the Australian Research Council; ISRCTN31608830)
  • RCT-MTPSY: Multicentre RCT on music therapy for psychiatric patients with low therapy motivation (NCT00137189)
  • MT-PRIS: RCT on music therapy for prison inmates (ISRCTN22518605)
  • MT-DEPR: RCT on music therapy for depression (with the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, as part of the EU FP6 project BrainTuning; ISRCTN84185937)
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of music therapy in mental health

Links to various resources:

Last updated: 1 March 2023

Christian Gold


Health & Social Sciences

Research themes

Music Therapy

Research Groups

GAMUT – Music Therapy

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