Dr Goncalo Barradas

School of Health & Society

Photo of Dr Goncalo Barradas

Contact Details

Current positions

Lecturer in Psychology (Cognitive Neuro)


I am a Lecturer in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) and a specialist in Clinical Psychologist, having worked closely with cases of child abuse and neglect in Portugal. My current research centers around Music Psychology and Affective Sciences, particularly using music stimuli for emotion induction, cognitive/motor rehabilitation, and emotion regulation and well-being. I am particularly interested in the following themes: (1) psychological mechanism underlying emotional responses to music; (2) cross-cultural differences; and (3) the impact of emotions elicited by music on cognitive and motor rehabilitation of Alzheimer patients. I have worked on several projects with the Music Psychology group at Uppsala University, Sweden. I welcome applications from students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in music psychology, music and emotion, music and aesthetics, and cognitive neuroscience.

Areas of Research

Cognitive Neurosciences; Affective Sciences; Music and Emotion

Areas of Supervision

You can download my Ph.D. thesis here: https://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1072410&dswid=-6992

Music plays a crucial role in everyday life, enabling listeners to seek individual emotional experiences. To explain why such emotions occur, we must understand the underlying process that mediates between surface-level features of the music and aroused emotions. This thesis aimed to investigate how musical emotions are mediated by psychological mechanisms from a cross-cultural perspective.

Study I manipulated four mechanisms by selecting ecologically valid music pieces that featured relevant information for each mechanism. The results suggested that listeners’ emotions could be successfully predicted based on theoretically based manipulations of target mechanisms. However, Study I featured only listeners from a single culture, neglecting the possible role of contextual and individual factors.

Study II investigated the prevalence of emotions, mechanisms, and listening motives in a web survey featuring listeners from individualist and collectivist countries. Results indicated that prevalence patterns of emotions and mechanisms were similar across cultures. Still, Study II found that certain emotions, such as nostalgia and the mechanism of episodic memory, were more frequent in collectivist cultures. In contrast, sadness and the mechanism of musical expectancy were more frequent in individualist cultures. Study II also suggested that listening motives were country-specific rather than subject to the individualism-collectivism dimension.

Study III explored how particular mechanisms are manifested within a collectivist cultural setting with great potential for deeply felt emotions: fado music in Portugal. Interviews with listeners provided in-depth information on how the cultural context might shape listening motives and emotions. The results revealed that listeners strived for musical experiences that aroused culturally valued emotions. Music-evoked nostalgia and contextual factors were essential and contributed to an enhanced sense of well-being.

Study IV tested the influence of lyrics on the emotions induced by Swedish and Portuguese pieces of music. The results revealed cross-cultural differences in how lyrics influenced emotions. The differences were not related to the music’s origin but to the listener’s origin, suggesting that the impact of the lyrics depends on the listener's cultural background.

In conclusion, the thesis suggests that cultural factors serve as moderators of effects of biologically based mechanisms for emotion induction.

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • PhD in Psychology

    2012 - 2017
  • Master Programme in Psychology - Clinical and Counseling Psychology

    2006 - 2007