We are interested in five broad questions:
- Musical affect: How does music alter our emotions?
- Embodied music cognition: To what extent are musical behaviors and experiences bodily as much as mental?
- Music and language: How is musical experience linguistically mediated?
- Timbre: How is timbre (or tone) musically meaningful, and what is the nature of our affective response?
- Social psychology of music: How does cultural and social context alter musical experience?
Current research projects by lab members include:
Creating novel timbres from descriptive words
A study investigating the cognitive process involved in translating descriptive words (e.g., “bright”) into novel qualities of electronic sound. The study uses behavioral, acoustic, and computational methods. Contacts: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Musical taste and empathy
This study explores the effect of empathic personality traits in our neural processing of music—particularly music you love and music you can’t stand—using neuroimaging. Contact: email@example.com.
Psychology of spiritual musicking practices
This project looks the ubiquitous human practice of chant singing in spiritual contexts to explore the effect of repetitive vocalization in individual and group settings on temporal perception and arousal. The study uses behavioral and psychophysiological methods. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perceptual and neural dynamics of noisy timbre
This project explores the cognitive psychology of listening to “noisy” timbral qualities (e.g., distorted guitar, vocal growling) and the effect of noise elements on perceived and evoked emotion. The study uses neuroimaging, behavioral, and acoustical methods. Contact: email@example.com.
Cognitive linguistics of instrument description
A linguistic study exploring the ways people conceptualize and describe qualities of instrumental and synthetic timbre (e.g., nasal oboe, mellow horn). The study uses corpus analytic and qualitative methods. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Analyzing modulation in Western classical music [collaboration with UT-Dallas]
This study investigates how the brain encodes music, especially the changes in a piece of music as it develops. In particular, we are interested in Western classical music. The study uses behavioral methods. Contact: email@example.com.
Memory for rhythm [collaboration with UT-Dallas]
A cross-cultural study that examines memory for rhythmic patterns played on the South Indian percussion instrument, the mridangam. The study uses behavioral methods. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.