research projects

Being a music cognition lab, our over-arching research goal is to understand the cognitive roots of the musical experience.  Pursuing this goal leads us to basic research contributing to our understanding of basic perceptual and cognitive processes such as sensory integration, learning & memory, and the communication of emotion.  Additionally, we are currently pursuing possible clinical applications for some of our findings through our network of collaborators including clinical psychologists, audiologists, and cognitive neuroscientists.  Our projects draw upon the rich, interdisciplinary background of our team members to identify novel questions of broad interest to psychologists, neuroscientists, music theorists, music educators, and performing musicians.  Although our primary focus is on experimental research involving perceptual studies, we are also interested in using the techniques of empirical musicology to quantify and explore issues of musical importance.  Where necessary, we design customized testing software to facilitate efficient exploration of key topics.

Learn more about our research by reading overviews of current projects on audio-visual integration, sensorimotor interactions, music & emotion, and/or learning & memory.  For a quick summary of our projects, check our our latest news, view  sample stimuli from our published experiments, and learn about media coverage.  For more in-depth information download our peer-reviewed publications, and conference proceedings.  Interested in joining our research team?  Please see our pages on opportunities for graduate training as well as undergraduate research opportunities.

Research Topics

Audio-Visual Integration

  • Exploring the ways that music creates an “illusion of unity” and how our minds integrate information between the instruments and the sounds those instruments create.

Sensorimotor Interactions

  • Movement–tapping our feet or bobbing our heads–along with music actually helps us to better hear the temporal structure of musical information.

Music and Emotion

  • The Emotional Piano Project: Research into emotional cues used in musical pieces.

Auditory Alarms

  • Attempting to improve upon ineffective hospital alarms.

Amplitude Envelope

  • The difference of “natural” percussive and “electronic” flat tones and it’s importance in experimentation.

Learning and Development

  • Why some sounds may be easier to remember than others.