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Sun Sun Yap

PhD Researcher

Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Creative Industries
Areas of Expertise:
Music therapy

Indicative thesis title: Synchrony during music therapy and its relationship to self reported therapy readiness. A mixed methods case study series.


Supervisory team: Prof Jörg Fachner (1st), Dr Clemens Maidhof (2nd), Prof Gerhard Tucek (3rd), Prof Wolfgang Tschacher (4th)

Sun Sun's study investigates the relationship between the self reported therapy readiness of the participants and (i) the nonverbal synchrony before and after a music therapy intervention (ii) the synchronicity of heart rates (HR) during music therapy. It also examines the HR synchrony during Moments of Therapeutic Interest (MOIs).

The aim is to show the relationship between the self-reported therapy readiness and the nonverbal as well as the HR synchrony, in order to provide an explanatory concept to the idea of personalised medicine. It hopes to raise awareness in music therapy practice to the chronobiological aspect of treatment so as to optimise patients’ therapy benefits.

Sun Sun started her journey in music therapy in 2011 after a career of more than a decade as a professional theatre performer. At present, she is a clinical music therapist at the neurological department of the University Hospital Tulln in Lower Austria.

Sun Sun joined the research team of the Josef Ressel Zentrum at the University of Applied Sciences in Krems Austria, in 2017. She received the Science Call Dissertation 2019 grant from the government of Lower Austria (NFB) for her PhD project and is currently also teaching on the Applied Health Sciences MSc programme of the University of Applied Sciences, Krems.

Research interests
  • Music therapy
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Synchrony
  • MSc Health Sciences (Music Therapy) - University of Applied Sciences Krems
  • BSc Health Sciences (Music Therapy) - University of Applied Sciences Krems
  • BSc Banking & Finance- University of London
Selected recent publications

Validation of an Empathy film with health care students (Janssen et al, 2020).

Yap, 2016. A Mixed Research Pilot Study Of the Effects on Outcomes with Aphasia Patients in Separated and Combined Music Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy Settings. University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria.