Music is a pervasive, even obsessive human behavior. It can stir emotion, attenuate anxiety, affect physical activity by modulating physiological mechanisms, and alter thought processes by focusing or diverting attention and by reinforcing or diminishing memory. Our research explores a variety of aspects of human engagement with music. We integrate brain imaging, statistical analyses, and behavioral experiments to investigate these phenomena. Briefly, we incorporate the following approaches:

Neural Correlates of Musical Engagement

We apply novel methods of data analysis to link musical features to listener engagement, and to identify brain regions activated during engaged listening.

Correlation Analyses of Encoded Music Performance

With access to (very) large amounts of data that monitor aspects of music engagement, we study data from industries that rely upon tracking human interaction with the music they seek, hear, and perform. Our goal is to corroborate imaging studies with data acquired in real-world musical settings.

Schema-Based Miscues in Piano Performance

Our exploration of expectation formulation and violation extends to the study of how performers - ranging from children in early stages of music education to concert artists - grapple with musical ambiguity and surprise.