In general, I am interested in perceptual processes, studied specifically through means of music perception. I am interested in dissecting musical elements to determine which factors (rhythm, tempo, mode, pitch, timbre, dynamics, etc.) can and cannot be manipulated without interfering with one’s overall perception of the music. I am also interested in learning how perception is affected by other factors such as mood or emotion and previous experience (i.e. musical expertise). 

Currently, I am looking at the perception of syncopated rhythms in Latin salsa music with novice listeners, salsa dancers, and musicians. Our research shows that both music training AND stylistic familiarity are necessary types of exposure in order to understand the "key" of the clave pattern in perceiving salsa patterns. We are also investigating rhythm discrimination abilities between both syncopated and non-syncopated patterns in the context of real musical examples.

Also, I am working with Rachel Keen on a similar experiment with 3-5 year olds. We are looking at the effects of exposure to different styles of music on children's rhythmic perception and discrimination abilities.

Finally, I am working with Blair Gross and Denny Proffitt on a music physiology experiment to investigate the physiological correlates of tempo changes in music. We hope to eventually look at on-line ratings of affect/arousal as well to determine whether emotion or physiological changes occur first.

Another ongoing line of research involves the more social side of music; namely, individual differences in motives for listening to music and music preferences. Projects have included looking at the relationship between positive and negative affect, uses of music, and music preferences in South African adolescents, measuring the incremental validity of trait emotional intelligence and typical intellectual engagement over the big five personality domains in prediction of uses of music, creating an expanded Uses of Music Inventory, and measuring the effects of stress, optimism, and music training on uses of music and music preferences.