RITMO Seminar Series: Interpersonal Synchrony in Sound, Brain, and Body

Caroline Palmer, Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill University, will speak at RITMO's Seminar Series

Colored RITMO logo on the left side, Caroline palmer on the right side


Humans, birds, elephants, and dolphins use sound to communicate and to coordinate or synchronize their behaviors with others. What types of auditory events are easiest for people to synchronize with, and why?  Music and speech require fine temporal adaptation in order for individuals to create synchronous sound. I will describe spontaneous auditory rhythms produced by musically trained and untrained individuals that indicate important markers of their abilities to synchronize. A second line of research investigates neural markers of synchrony in dyads of performing musicians. We consider principles of nonlinear dynamics that offer a mechanism for these forms of auditory-motor synchrony. Understanding how synchronous behavior arises in sound is important for rehabilitation applications, such as regaining speech following stroke or improving gait in neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s).


Caroline Palmer is the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Performance and Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is also an Associate Faculty Member in the Schulich School of Music at McGill. Her research in cognitive science addresses the behavioural and neural foundations (learning, memory, motor control, attention) that make it possible for people to produce auditory sequences such as playing a musical instrument or speaking. Palmer has developed and empirically tested computational models of how people perceive and produce auditory sequences, and how they coordinate their actions with others.

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Published Apr. 5, 2022 2:21 PM - Last modified May 3, 2022 12:59 PM