Ongoing research

  • Alliage In this research, the overarching objective is to study the behavioral and neural processes underlying the interpersonal processes that make music performance and listening such a unique experience. Recently, we have developed a successful approach, established by information-based theories for characterizing the types of interaction within musical ensembles starting from the analysis of body movement (e.g., expressive coordination, leadership). However, a clarified understanding of the neural systems involved in these collaborative and expressive processes has not been achieved yet. One critical aspect of sensorimotor communication includes the musician’s ability to decode the behavior of others and generate the appropriate signals to be decoded by the interacting participants without any words. Our project aims at investigating the neural dynamics reinforcing the human processing of non-verbal expressive behavior using musical context as test-bed. Specifically, this study will utilize multimodal setups including motion capture system, audio and video to record musical performances. We will consider live performance in both naturalistic and in virtual immersive environments. The use of these virtual immersive system models will enable us to maintain a higher control of environmental and social factors affecting music expression (e.g. behaviors of the audience using avatars). Synchronized multimodal recordings will then be used as stimuli to investigate the perceptual and behavioral responses of musicians and untrained participants. Both behavioral and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) techniques will be used to test the involvement of motor and brain regions known to be involved in the representation of human motion and expressive behaviors (e.g., superior temporal sulcus) and to analyze how the expressivity features are processed and decoded at the brain level in the context of the theory of embodiment. (Funding for three year by the Swiss National Science Foundation).

  • Expectation A research on the role of musical expectations in the induction of emotions. Musical expectations apart of providing information-processing aspects about musical perception, attribute at the expression of emotions. The knowledge of musical system is a crucial element for musical expectations. In this research we tend to show that different expectations will arise different emotions by comparing distinct expressivity, non-musicians vs MIDI, and different expertise in music, musicians vs non-musicians. To test that we will use 4 musical stimuli of classical music and we will collect the subjective feeling of participants.

  • Impact This research aims to study, with the help of music theory, music pratice, psychology and neuroscience, the relationships between conceptual metaphors, music, and emotion. One crucial question in the domain of music and emotion is how artistic performances can induce emotions. The investigators proposed to address this question in four lines of research: (1) the dimensional organization of conceptual metaphors related to body, gestures, and space in the musical domain, (2) to investigate the relationships between these kinds of conceptual metaphors and musical emotions and the underlying musical structures and acoustical features, (3) how conceptual metaphors can impact on musical performances and how the audience perceive these modulations, especially in terms of emotions, and (4) how these conceptual metaphors related to music and how different levels of expressivity are processed and decoded at the brain level. In this interdiscplinary project, behavioral measures, including explicit judgments as well as implicit measures such as musical gestures and body motions will be used in order to investigate how conceptual metaphors are essential in musical performances during production and perception. The embodied view of conceptual metaphors will be investigated using brain imaging techniques to test the involvment of specific brain regions in their generation. Furthermore, brain imaging will also be used as a tool revealing how different levels of expressivity are processed and decoded at the brain level. Actually, this project is interdsicplinary at least at two levels: (1) the concepts and questions coming from music theory combined with the ones from psychology and affective neuroscience and (2) the methods used will come both from the practice of music and from classic psychology as well as from neuroscience. Beyond the fundamental scientific contributions, the teaching of music will also benefit from these project results by defining conceptual metaphor dimensions essential in musical pratice and music theory. Finally, this project aims also to promote the communication with the public and several events will be organized to show the effects of the interactions between science and arts. The results of this project will also bring new perspectives of the relationships between music and emotions and will certainly enlighten the roots of the human fascination for music. (Funding for three year by the Swiss National Science Foundation).

  • Resonance Research on singing, body resonances and expressiveness i.e. the impact of “voice positioning” on singing quality and expressiveness. (Awareness and use of different parts of torso, abdominal and pelvic belts will be studied).

  • vCool Characterizes the ability of a musician to manage the Music Performance Anxiety (MPA) in the context of public performance using virtual reality resources. Our goal is to study the mechanisms of adaptation and behavioral strategies that musicians are developing to address different audiences (eg. benevolent public, annoyed or sparse audience) in different contexts and conditions (eg competition, presence a jury, concert hall, important lighting etc.). So we can test the effectiveness of this form of cognitive behavioral intervention to increase the quality of the performance, reduce the physiological symptoms and reduce the subjective level of anxiety and develop a virtual device that provides students the ability to build behavioral strategies and coping mechanisms.(IRMAS)