Music, Memories, and Emotions

Trying to understand why hearing that song from the 8th grade dance elicits such awkward nostalgia ... and why music from the past lights up the lives of Alzheimer's patients ...

This is an ambitious long-term project to understand how we relive our personal memories and emotions through music. Learn about the research we do on how our brains track music to bring back memories, and let us know if you'd like more information about ways to contribute!

The Groove Project

Music often induces in us the irresistable urge to move, and there's arguably no feeling that's better than feeling like you're one with the music and those with whom you are making music. Our goal is to understand the psychology and neuroscience behind the somewhat ephemeral concept and potent musical experience of being "in the groove."

Musical Spaces

Music functions in three broadly defined spaces. Understanding the varieties of music and musical experience necessitates exploration of each of these fascinating spaces and their interactions.

  • Tonal – One musical structure we are trying to gain an understanding of is the torus (the ubiquitous icon around our site), which we use to model tonal movement in music ... peek inside to see animations!
  • Temporal – We have less of an understanding of rhythmic space. We are working on an oscillator model that lets one compare behavioral data directly with the music model, and have used this model to try to examine the phenomenon of being in the groove.
  • Timbral – Timbre depends on how the frequency content of a sound changes through time, thus giving it its identity. We have been working on understanding how many complex sounds can be held in mind at the same time.

Insofar as possible, we like to understand our physiological data using analyses of features that derive directly from actual audio recordings. If you would like to use our programs for your own analyses, please visit the respective project locations.

Templeton Advanced Research Program

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