- Can infants infer the underlying beat in music and if so, what information do they use?
- When does adult-like knowledge of music emerge and what are the effects of culture-specific musical listening experiences?
- What kinds of experiences have the greatest impact on music learning at different ages?
- How does musical perception and behavior depend on integration of information from different modalities (i.e., sound, sight, and movement)?
- How and when do we develop music- and language-specific perceptual biases and processes? How do linguistic experiences influence music perception and vice versa?
- How do shared musical experiences influence social relationships?
Current and past research in the lab examines the following questions:
In the Auditory Cognition and Development Lab, we examine how infants and adults understand and learn about music and speech.
Just as most people acquire the ability to understand and speak a language, so too do most people acquire tacit knowledge and behaviors specific to the kinds of music experienced on an everyday basis.
Our lab aims to understand the mechanisms that underlie how infants process sound structure, and how those mechanisms are modified as a result of experience listening to music and language.
Our toy studies allow babies to show us what kinds of music or objects they like. Babies are shown videos of people clapping and moving to music on a large projector. Babies are then presented with toys and grab the stuffed animal that corresponds to objects or people they like!
Our Elmo paradigm enables us to test babies' ability to discriminate between songs or language sounds. Elmo hides behind a giant blue "T" while sounds play and then pops out from one of two ends. Can babies predict where Elmo appears?
When we listen to the same song or speech sound over and over, we might become disinterested. Psychologists have used this phenomenon, called habituation, to familiarize babies with sounds prior to a test for discrimination or recognition. We often use this paradigm to study music and languages from different origins.
In our studies, we can tell what babies like by where and when they look! We pair music and language sounds with cute animal videos and see how long babies "like" what they are listening too. For more interesting sounds, babies tend to look longer while ignoring sounds they find uninteresting.