The enjoyment of music is ubiquitous among humans. Its experience varies in the quality and intensity of engagement with the sound, ranging from passive and subconscious to deeply engrossed and attentive. In addition to audition—whether active or passive—music can serve to organize and coordinate movement, and also serves a variety of other utilitarian and hedonistic functions. The Music Engagement Research Initiative (MERI) aims at deepening our understanding of the dynamics of engagement, establishing a theoretical framework, and establishing a metric with which to measure the degree of listener engagement.
We develop and integrate and variety of approaches to measure musical engagement including measuring cortical responses and physiological markers associated with arousal and emotional response to music, as well as analyzing user behavior in online social networks devoted to music.
Correlating statistical analyses of large-scale user trends and behaviors vis a vis music with laboratory studies of music cognition we hope to establish new models of music perception and cognition.