James McGill Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University
Period of residence: 
Du 9 septembre 2019 au 7 février 2020 - Holder of Inserm / IMéRA chair
Research project: 
Emotion communication in speech and music: Role of spectrotemporal modulations
Summary of the research project: 

The project will focus on the role of spectrotemporal modulations in carrying information that conveys emotion in both speech and music contexts. We will use a previously developed method to filter speech and musical sounds, and selectively modify their spectral or temporal features; behavioral measures will test the hypothesis that emotion-relevant acoustical cues may depend more on one or the other dimension, and that this may interact with the whether the sound is speech or music. In a second phase we will adapt the task to a neuroimaging context, using both functional MRI and Magnetoencephalography, allowing us to test the relationship between neural measures and behavioral responses, which we believe forms the basis for emotion processing in the two domains. The proposed studies will allow us to gain a better understanding of human communication of emotion as conveyed via speech and music, and we hope will lead to longer-term collaborations between the teams in Marseille and Montreal.

Lien(s) web:

Bio :

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, obtaining my undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at Boston University, and my PhD in experimental psychology with the late Peter Eimas at Brown university. My postdoctoral training was with Brenda Milner at McGill, where I am currently professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Montreal Neurological Institute. My laboratory studies the neural substrates of auditory cognition. Together with my collaborators I have published over 280 scientific papers on topics including pitch perception, auditory imagery, perception of auditory space, and the role of the mesolimbic reward circuitry in musical pleasure. My research spans all aspects of human auditory processing, from the functional and structural properties of auditory cortices, to how these properties differ between the hemispheres, and how they change with training or sensory loss. My lab makes use of functional and structural MRI, MEG and EEG, and brain stimulation techniques, together with cognitive and psychophysical measures. In 2006 I became the founding co-director, with Isabelle Peretz, of the international laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound research (BRAMS), a unique multi-university consortium with state-of-the art facilities dedicated to the cognitive neuroscience of music that currently counts 69 members from around the world. In 2011 I received the IPSEN foundation prize in neuronal plasticity, in 2013 I won the Knowles prize in hearing research from Northwestern University, and in 2017 I was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. I am a classically trained organist, and live in Montreal with my wife and collaborator Virginia Penhune, professor of psychology at Concordia University.

Curriculum Vitae: