About Us

Welcome to the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab. The lab facilitates the exchange of ideas between faculty members in neuroscience, psychology, education, audiology, speech-language pathology, medicine, music, engineering, and undergraduate and graduate students. Our lab employs a variety of behavioral and physiological methods in our research including electroencephalography, eye-tracking, speech analysis, neuroimaging, genetics, behavioral coding, and various standardized and experimental assessment measures. We promote the training and mentorship of the next generation of researchers and clinicians to give them the necessary skills for developing pragmatic solutions to complex interventional problems. 

Our lab is the central hub of the Program for Music, Mind, and Society (MMS) at Vanderbilt. A trans-institutional program, the Program for Music, Mind, and Society aims to discover and understand how music works on both the neuronal and molecular level as well as on the cultural and societal level.

Lab Leadership

Dr. Reyna Gordon, PhD is the Director of the Music Cognition Lab. The lab is comprised of an interdisciplinary team focused on exploring the role of rhythm in language development and disorders from behavioral, cognitive, neural, and genetic perspectives. Our research examines the relationship between rhythm and grammar skills in typical development and specific language impairment, the neural mechanisms underlying rhythm and grammar skills, the genetics of language disorders, and how musical training can improve language skills. 

Miriam Lense, PhD, co-director of the Music Cognition Lab leads research on the development of rhythmic entrainment and the relationships between music and social communication and engagement in individuals with and without developmental disorders. Research themes include the role of rhythm in social communication and engagement, modulation of emotion and arousal levels via musical experiences, parent-child musical engagement experiences, and atypical sensory processing and musical engagement in individuals with developmental disorders, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Williams syndrome. 

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