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Singing Brain

Welcome to Singing Brain, a new OPEN series about neuroscience and music. There is a long history of art having a positive impact on certain parts of our brain. In this series, we will explore these effects by reviewing the latest research and interviewing experts in this field. The goal is to inform, entertain, and inspire viewers through short video segments on our Singing Brains. 

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Episode 10 welcomes the accomplished and enthusiastic Haley Kragness, who is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University. She is interested in how we learn musical patterns implicitly as we grow and has published numerous papers with a focus on children psychology and music. In this episode, we discuss what the term “musicality” means, how children perceive music, and a baby opera! Watch this informative and exciting episode to find out more. 


What a pleasure it was to speak with Dr. Srishti Nayak this week! As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab, she is studying what human musical rhythm and language traits have in common at the biological level. She is also working on understanding how we interpret and use rhythms in speech input in meaningful ways for communication. We discuss the connections between music and language, how to define musical ability, and whether music can help someone learn a language. 


Dr. Dominique Vuvan is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department and Neuroscience Program at Skidmore College. Professor Vuvan is the director of the Skidmore Music and Cognition Laboratory (MaCLab) which focuses on the neurocognition of music with particular interests in expectancy processing, language-music interaction, and individual differences. In this episode, we discuss the similarities between language and music, how music can be used as a tool to study cognition, and whether music can help reading comprehension. Tune in to hear Dr. Vuvan discuss more about her incredible research!


We are thrilled to have Swathi Swaminathan join us on episode 7 of Singing Brain. As a postdoctoral associate, her work involves studying artistic (especially musical) engagement and cognitive development and change across one’s lifespan. Swathi informs me of how time can change our perception of music, the educational and cultural relevance of music, and her favorite findings from her work in research. Ultimately, Swathi hopes her research will provide a better understanding of how the arts, mind and brain together contribute to how we live our lives.


Episode 6 takes a deep dive into rhythm, speech, and how music can affect both. Anna Fiveash is a cognitive psychologist interested in the diverse connections between music and language, and how we can use these connections to uncover underlying cognitive processes in the brain. She enlightened me on the diverse ways that music can affect the brain, the positive effects it can have, and how it is related to language. Watch this episode of Singing Brain to find out more.


Enikő Ladányi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Music Cognition Lab. She did her PhD at Budapest University of Technology and Economics studying language development in children. She then studied early language-related skills in infants at the Paris Descartes University. In this episode, Enikő shares her knowledge with us about language development disorders and how music can be used to detect these disorders earlier. To learn more about the disorders we discussed in this video, please visit It was a pleasure having Enikő on the show! 


Learn more about developmental language disorders here: 


In this episode of Singing Brain, Anna Kasdan, a PhD candidate in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute Neuroscience Graduate Program, shares her knowledge with us! She studies the neural basis of rhythm through the lens of various clinical populations and currently teaches introductory neuroscience courses to students in middle and high school. In this interview, Anna discusses her experience studying aphasia and conducting experiments throughout her education involving neuroscience and music. It was a pleasure to have Ms. Kasdan and hear her expertise on how beneficial music can be for certain neurological disorders. 


In this episode of the Singing Brain, we welcome the accomplished Psyche Loui, a psychology and neuroscience researcher. She is an assistant professor at Northeastern University and the Director of the Music, Imaging, and Neural Dynamics Lab. She explains how she grew interested in neuroscience and music, different types of music therapy, and the effects of music on attention span among other topics. It was a delight having Psyche on the show to discuss her extensive knowledge on music and the brain.


In this episode of the Singing Brain, Dr. Amy Belfi explains her research regarding music preferences and how music can improve our commutes. Dr. Belfi is an assistant professor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa. She has worked with notable companies such as Ford and Spotify in addition to doing her own research about how music influences our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Dr. Belfi has studied a wide array of topics related to music and neuroscience, and it was a pleasure having her on the show. 


Our first episode of the Singing Brain features Dr. Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez who is an accomplished researcher in the Alzheimer's Disease field. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology from University of Iowa and currently holds the position of Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In this episode, Dr.Guzmán-Vélez explains her research involving music and Alzheimer’s Disease. We discuss why we enjoy music, how it affects our memory, and how helpful it can be for our brains.

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