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James C. Carlsen Visiting Scholar to speak on March 5

Submitted by Humanities Web Project on February 27, 2013 - 12:00am
Laurel Trainor
Laurel Trainor

Laurel Trainor, director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind at Toronto's McMaster University, presents "Music, Development and Brain Plasticity: From Perceiving Music to Social Behavior" on Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m., at Brechemin Audtiorium. Dr. Trainor is the UW's 2012-13 James Carlsen Visiting Scholar in Music Cognition and Learning.

A professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University and a research scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, Trainor has published more than 100 research articles on the neuroscience of auditory development and the perception of music in noted journals including Science, Nature, Journal of Neuroscience, Signal Processing, Cognition, Music Perception and Developmental Science.

Trainor's research at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind has focused on the effects of music on brain development of infants and young children. Her lecture will examine the ways in which infants acquire sensitivity to the pitch and rhythmic structures of the music in their environment without formal training, just as they learn the language in their environment. She also will discuss the effects of musical training on brain and behaviour, examine rhythm and the human ability to entrain movement to an auditory beat, and present data showing that auditory and motor systems interact in the brain even in the early stages of brain development.

Her UW appearance as the James C. Carlsen Visiting Scholar in Music Cognition and Learning is made possible through support from the fund of the same name and from the Bobbette Koon Endowment in Music Therapy.  The Carlsen fund is designed to bring scholars to the School of Music annually to share the latest research on music cognition. The Bobbette Koon Endowment provides ongoing support for UW students and faculty in the School of Music's Laboratory for Music Cognition, Culture, and Learning, to advance research in the area of music cognition and learning. The lab is co-directed by Music Education professors Steven Demorest and Steven Morrison.

"The Carlsen and Koon funds have made a huge difference in our ability to provide students with exposure to some of the top scholars in music cognition, while exploring how such research can inform our understanding of music development and learning," says Professor Demorest. While at the UW, Trainor will work with students and faculty from the School of Music, the Department of Speech and Hearing, and the Department of Psychology.

Admission to the Carlsen lecture is free and open to the public. Details are available here.