CCM hosts guest lecture on music for brain health on March 31

Guest speaker Psyche Loui's lecture is open to the public

Each semester, CCM welcomes distinguished experts for a series of musical discussions and lectures that are open to the general public and free to attend.

This semester's Thinking About Music Lecture Series continues at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, with a presentation by Psyche Loui, PhD, an Associate Professor from Northeastern University College of Arts, Media and Design. The title of Loui's talk is "Generating New Predictions: New Directions in Music for Brain Health." The lecture will be presented in the Baur Room of CCM's Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.

About the Lecture

The ability to predict events in the near future is a ubiquitous feature of biological systems that underlies perception, action and reward. Loui will present recent work that combines music theory and music technology with cross-cultural behavioral testing, neuropsychological assessments and neuroimaging studies in her lab on how and why humans across societies learn to love music, uncovering the role of different types of prediction on the dopaminergic reward system in the brain. These results are the first to highlight the process by which we learn from our predictions, and that learning itself becomes rewarding. Given that music taps into a relatively domain-general reward system which in turn motivates a variety of cognitive behaviors, Loui will also consider how this knowledge can be translated into music-based interventions for those with neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, presenting preliminary results on Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

About the Guest Speaker

A portrait of CCM Thinking About Music guest speaker Psyche Loui.

CCM guest speaker Psyche Loui. Photo/Northeastern University

Psyche Loui’s research and work is primarily focused on the neuroscience of music cognition, musical perception, pitch problems, singing, tone-deafness, music disorders and emotional impact of music and the voice. What happens in the brain when we create music? What gives some people a chill when they are moved by music? Can music be used to help with psychiatric and neurological disorders? These are questions that Loui tackles in the lab. Director of the MIND Lab (Music, Imaging and Neural Dynamics) at Northeastern University, Loui has published in the journals Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, NeuroImage, Frontiers in Psychology, Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, Music Perception, Annuals of the New York Academy of Sciences and others.

For her research on music and the brain, Loui has been interviewed by the Associated Press, CNN, WNYC, the Boston Globe, BBC Radio 4, NBC news and CBS radio, and the Scientist magazine.

Loui graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with her PhD in Psychology (Specialization: Cognition, Brain and Behavior). She attended Duke University as an undergraduate, earning degrees in Psychology and Music and a certificate in Neuroscience. She has since held faculty positions in Psychology, Neuroscience and Integrative Sciences at Wesleyan University, and in Neurology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

About CCM's Thinking About Music Lecture Series

Since its inception in 1997, CCM's Thinking About Music Series has presented nearly 130 lectures and one symposium by guests from a number of different colleges, universities, schools of music, foundations, institutes, museums and publications. The series is co-directed by Professor of Music Theory Steven Cahn and Associate Professor of Musicology Jeongwon Joe.

The subjects of the lectures have covered historical musicology, music theory and ethnomusicology, along with the ancillary fields of organology, dance, music business and law, cognitive psychology, and the philosophy, theology and sociology of music.

CCM’s Thinking About Music Series is sponsored by the Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel; along with support from the Dean's Office, the Graduate Student Association and the Division of Composition, Musicology and Theory at CCM. These music theory and history discussions feature diverse topics presented by distinguished experts from all over the United States and are designed to engage participants’ imaginations and to consider music in new ways.

This spring's Thinking About Music series will also feature a Zoom lecture by Ellie Hisama (Dean of the Faculty of Music and Professor of Music from the University of Toronto) on April 14.

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A preeminent institution for the performing and media arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio. All event dates and programs are subject to change. For a complete calendar of public events, visit

Featured image at top: A decorative graphic containing the words "The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series." Graphic Design/Mikki Graff

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