Principal Investigator

  • Petr Janata

    Petr Janata is a cognitive neuroscientist studying the psychology of music. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1996, where he performed electrophysiological studies of auditory object representations in the barn owl brain and musical image formation in the human brain. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago from 1997-1999 he used electrophysiological and computational approaches to investigate song-perception and song-learning in songbirds. From 2000-2004 he was on the research faculty at Dartmouth College where he resumed his long-standing line of music perception research, initiated as an undergraduate at Reed College and continued as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria. Since 2004, he has been a faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain, and the Department of Psychology, at UC Davis, where he continues to use music and an array of behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging tools as a means of understanding how the brain organizes complex human behaviors. In 2010 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2010-11 he spent a year in Prague as a Fulbright Fellow. CV

Research Staff


Graduate Students

  • Brian Hurley

    Brian is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology's Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience area. His research interests involve using music as a stimulus to understand how humans perceive and act upon rhythmic auditory signals and how such behaviors arise in the brain. Brian received his undergraduate degree in Psychology at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he studied memory for melodic and rhythmic patterns in Jay Dowling's laboratory. Since joining the Janata Lab, Brian has also developed an interest in how attention and temporal expectancies affect different aspects of the musical experience. Aside from academics, Brian enjoys playing piano and exploring the Northern California outdoors with his wife, Kristine.

  • Ben Kubit

    Ben is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology’s Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience area. He received his undergraduate degree in cognitive science and psychology from Case Western Reserve University where he studied attentional processes and social cognition with Anthony Jack in the Brain, Mind and Consciousness Lab. His research in the Janata Lab focuses on understanding the retrieval and re-experiencing of music-evoked autobiographical memories in terms of interactions between brain networks. Ben’s work addresses questions about how episodic memories are bound to musical memories, the role of attentional focus during music-evoked autobiographical memories, and how the brain functionally represents and organizes music-evoked memories across time.

  • Jeff Rector

    Jeff is a graduate student in the Psychology department. Prior to joining the Janata Lab, Jeff received a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University and worked in book publishing and software development. His work in the Janata Lab centers around temporal modulations, investigating recognition memory for modulations as well as the role of frequency modulations in conveying emotional meaning in sound. He is also keenly interested in musical timbre, and the relationship between acoustic features and the assignment of meaning to sounds that do not have a clearly identifiable source.

  • Lauren Fink

    Lauren is a PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate Group at UC Davis. She received her BM in Percussion Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Allen Otte. During her M.Phil in Music Studies at the University of Cambridge (UK) , Lauren was supervised by Ian Cross and completed a thesis examining music’s ability to modulate eyeblink patterns. This thesis led to Lauren’s current research in the Janata Lab which revolves around characterizing music-induced entrainment of ocular motor behaviors, e.g. eyeblinks and pupil dilation. She is particularly interested in how sensori(ocular)motor coupling effects and/or reflects attentional processes.

  • Angela Nazarian

    Angela is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology’s Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience area. She received a B.A. in Psychology and Music Industry from the University of Southern California. Her previous research at USC included multimodal prediction of psychological disorders, emotion and affect in human–computer interactions, natural language dialogue, and cultural psychology. Angela’s academic interests lie at the intersection of music and psychology. Her current research in the Janata Lab consists of semantic and contextual analysis of music evoked autobiographical memories.

Current Undergraduates

  • Nikhil Bellamkonda

Former post-docs, graduate students, and research staff

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