Music Perception and Cognition: A Clinical Neuroscientific Perspective


Tyler Ussery

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ralf Greenwald (Psychology)


Scientists and historians agree that music has been one of the most culturally relevant phenomena in the history of mankind. Every society and civilization in known history has regularly practiced musical activity. With recent developments in brain imaging technology and therapeutic applications the empirically elusive “power of music” has recently begun to be scientifically explored. By studying the physics of sound, brain anatomy and physiology, western music theory, and improvisation, music scientists show evidence for the extensive benefits of musical practice and performance. Thus, music cognition and perception are becoming an internationally popular field of interdisciplinary research; This is especially apparent when considering the observed benefits of current music therapy practices. This presentation is designed to provide an overview of how the brain perceives, processes, and creates music from a neuroscientific perspective. Additionally, practical applications will be discussed to provide an educational foundation for those working in research, education, and therapy.

Keywords: Neuroscience, Music, Cognition.


5 thoughts on “Music Perception and Cognition: A Clinical Neuroscientific Perspective”

  1. Thank you, Tyler, for the very interesting presentation. I would love to find music that would motivate me to grade papers!

    1. Thank you very much! This is a fascinating concept, I would recommend music that you can bop your head to. The collective Snarky Puppy is a great place to start for accompanying grading and schoolwork.

      Best, Tyler.

  2. Tyler,
    Great presentation and synapses on some of the current workings and goals of the subject study. I’m curious about the segment where you talk about the study with the musical samples and pinpointing the thirteen different emotions that were triggered by them. You noted that they were that many were very similar in terms of sound itself, so do you know anything from that study to point to what differences between the pieces triggered the differing emotional responses?

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