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Current Research

I play what I love

Why do we enjoy music and how does our enjoyment of music affect our relationship with it? Is music we like easier to learn to play?  Alexander Albury, along with collaborator and Penhune Lab alumna Dr. Roberta Bianco investigates whether melodies that are more musically predictable are better liked and better learned. 

Get into the groove

Why does music want to make us move and why does moving to music give us pleasure?  What are the brain networks involved in the perception of rhythm and groove?  PhD student Isaac Romkey and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Connor Spiech are answering these questions using MEG in collaboration with Dr. Peter Vuust and lab almunus Dr. Tomas Matthews (Music and Mind Institute, Aarhus Denmark).

What I hear moves me

Does hearing a familiar melody prepare the brain to move?  PhD student Oscar Bedford is testing this question using brain stimulation and EEG measures in collaboration with Dr. Robert Zatorre at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Get an early start 

Work from our lab has demonstrated that starting music training before age seven has long-term effects on behavior and the brain.  Lab alumna Dr. Kierla Ireland has shown that children who start early have better perception of musical pitch, and Dr. Jake Shenker explored changes in the cerebellum and motor regions in early starters. Maria Psomas is currently investigating the effect of music training on speech and the joint auditory-motor processing in these two domains.

Words and music

Bilingualism and music training are powerful long-term experiences. Lab alumns Dr. Lucia Vaquero, Paul-Noel Rousseau, and Dr. Brian Gunther compared the effect of early- and late- bilingualism and music training on behavior and the brain.


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