Costas’s main research interest is the psychological, psychophysiological and neurophysiological effects of music in the domain of exercise and sport. This is a topic that he has examined systematically for over 25 years using a broad range of scientific approaches and methods. His programme of research has entailed the development of conceptual frameworks and grounded theory, the production and validation of measurement tools, laboratory-based experimentation (e.g. psychometric, EEG, EMG, fMRI, respiratory), and in vivo studies.
Costas has completed a number of industrial projects that include work with Nike Inc. on the Portable Sport Audio MP3 player, Sony UK on the W series of sport MP3 headphones, Bio-Medical Research Ltd. (Ireland) on the Mentor behavioural screening programme, and David Lloyd Leisure Ltd. on the development of a music policy for their chain of health clubs. He was principal author of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences’ (BASES) national expert statement on the use of music in exercise. In 2020, he was principal author of the BASES expert statement on the use of music for movement among people with Parkinson's. The project brought together an international interdisciplinary team.
From 2007-10 Costas led a large-scale consultancy project with the International Management Group (IMG) that entailed coordinating live music with mass participation running events – Run to the Beat. He made scientific contributions and served as a media spokesperson for several events in the UK and across mainland Europe. This body of work led to an impact case study for REF2014. Prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games he worked with Redbull UK Ltd. on the Performance Track Project that entailed the creation of a bespoke pre-competition track for Olympic 400-metre hurdler Dai Greene. The project involved a collaboration with the well-known producer Redlight. In 2015-16 Costas led a research project for England Rugby on the creation and testing of bespoke music programmes for 02 Touch, a mixed-gender form of touch rugby.
Costas has worked extensively with the music industry to release a number of sport and exercise-related compilations including the bestselling Run to the Beat CD and Ministry of Sound: Run to the Beat 2010. In 2014, he collaborated with leading soprano Laura Wright and Decca Records on the production of The Sound of Strength album, which was the first classical music album to be written and arranged specifically for physical exercise. In 2011, Costas published a textbook titled Inside Sport Psychology (Human Kinetics; ISBN 978-0-7360-3329-9) that is co-authored by Professor Peter Terry (University of Southern Queensland). The book was subsequently translated into Polish (2014) and Turkish (2015).
In 2017, Costas released a sole-authored textbook titled Applying Music in Exercise and Sport (Human Kinetics; ISBN 978-1-4925-1381-0). The book appraises contemporary research, provides a new theoretical framework, and presents specific recommendations to enable exercise and sport professionals to use music more effectively. There is also an associated study guide for students, pedagogues and exercise professionals that accompanies the text (Human Kinetics; ISBN 978-1-4925-4640-5).
Costas contributed three chapters to the text Sporting Sounds: Relationships Between Sport and Music (Routledge 2009) as well as chapters in New Sport and Exercise Psychology Companion (Fitness Information Technology 2011), Sport, Music, Identities (Taylor & Francis 2014), Sport and Exercise Psychology 2nd ed. (Taylor & Francis 2016) and Art in Motion III (Peter Lang 2016). He has recently completed music-related chapters for The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction (Routledge 2017), Progress in Brain Research: Volume 3 (Science Direct 2018) and the Handbook of Sport Psychology 4th ed. (John Wiley & Sons 2020).
Costas’s PhD graduates include: Drs David-Lee Priest (2004; Author and Lecturer at the University of East Anglia), Kelly J. Ashford (2005; Research Project Manager at the University of British Columbia–Okanagan, Canada), Ruth M. Hewston (2005; Principal Lecturer at the University of Worcester), Daniel T. Bishop (2007; Senior Lecturer at Brunel), Georgios Loizou (2008; Diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus), Massimo M. Vencato (2010; Freelance Consultant), Harry B. T. Lim (2012; Sport Psychologist at the Singapore Sports Institute), Alessandra Mecozzi Saha (2013; Student Academic Support Coordinator at New South Wales University, Australia), Leighton Jones (2014; Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University), Marcelo Bigliassi (2018; Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Jonathan M. Bird (Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter).
Costas's current PhD students are: Dr Amir-Hosseyn Yassari MD and Laís Silva Vidotto.