At the Music Dynamics Laboratory we are working to uncover the general principles of neural dynamics that underlie music perception and cognition. Music is a high-level cognitive capacity, a form of communication that relies on highly structured temporal sequences comparable in complexity to language. Music is found among all human cultures, and musical ‘languages’ vary across cultures with learning. Unlike language, however, music rarely refers to the external world. It consists of self contained patterns of sound, and certain aspects these patterns are found universally among musical cultures. We are investigating the neural processes underlying pitch, rhythm and tonality, as well as the perception of song and the experience of emotion in music.
Our research is uncovering fundamental mechanisms of hearing, communication, and auditory system development. We are identifying innate constraints that shape musical communication, with potentially important implications for language learning. Our research has implications for understanding a wide range of hearing and communication disorders, and it has applicability to improving the design of neural prostheses, enhancing the perception of music and other sounds in cochlear implant patients.