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This Is What It Sounds Like: The Music of Listening with Susan Rogers, PhD

Professor of cognitive neuroscience and former record producer (Prince, David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies) Susan Rogers presents a new model of music cognition that describes the “listener profile”—a constellation of individualized preferences mapped to an array of musical and aesthetic dimensions. Four musical dimensions of melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre are each analyzed in a distinct brain network specialized for music processing. Three aesthetic dimensions—authenticity, realism, and novelty—are each processed by several interconnected higher-order brain regions that receive inputs from the four music-specific networks. Our “offline” thoughts, such as fantasizing and mind-wandering, are shown to increase their connectivity when listeners are enjoying music their preferred music. Thus, the music we respond to the most powerfully can reveal those parts of ourselves that are robustly linked to our sense of self identity. Our music preferences are formed over a lifetime of musical experiences, resulting in a profile that is unique for every music lover. The ways in which music preferences form and how they differ will be discussed.

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Susan Rogers holds a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from McGill University (2010). Prior to her science career, Susan was a multiplatinum-earning record producer, engineer, mixer and audio technician. She is best known for her work with Prince (1983-1987) but production/engineering credits also include David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, Geggy Tah, Nil Lara, Robben Ford, Tricky, Michael Penn, and Jeff Black. In 2021 she became the first female recipient of the Music Producer’s Guild Award for Outstanding Contributions to U.K. Music. She recently retired from Berklee College of Music, Boston, where she taught psychoacoustics and record production in the department of Music Production & Engineering. Her book on music listening for W. W. Norton is titled This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You.

This program is in collaboration with the Cary Library in Lexington, Somerville Public LibraryBelmont Public LibraryWellesley Free LibraryMaynard Public LibraryPeabody Institute Library of Danvers and is made possible by the generous donors to the Cary Library Foundation. Please note that the Zoom information will come from the Cary Library.

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When

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location

Virtual - Zoom Webinar
361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02445, United States

Accessibility

Need aids or accommodations? Email our administration team or give us a call at 617-730-2360 for more information.


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