May 5th 2022: “Hidden forces in education: genes, environment, personality, anxiety and creativity” with Yulia Kovas
There are several psychological characteristics that represent significant but often hidden forces in education. In this lecture Yulia Kovas describes four of these forces and examines how genetic and environmental factors contribute to these traits and to learning and education more broadly. The new insights into these forces come from recent twin studies, molecular genetic studies, neuro visualisation studies, cross-cultural and longitudinal research. The first force is spatial ability, which has been linked to academic success, especially in STEM fields. Recent research suggests that students whose spatial talent is undiscovered are more likely to disengage and develop emotional problems. Research also suggests that spatial abilities can be developed through targeted interventions. The second important force in education is creativity. Although its importance is widely recognised, this phenomenon is poorly understood. Recent studies explored different aspects of creativity, sources of individual differences in creativity, and how creativity is linked to academic success. The third major force in education is personality. Personality research is expanding, investigating multiple personality dimensions, and using new methods such as network analyses and eye-tracking. These approaches are providing new insights into processes through which personality influences educational outcomes. And the fourth important and often unrecognised area in educational context is anxiety, including test anxiety, social anxiety and subject-specific anxiety such as mathematical anxiety. Studies suggest that different anxieties have largely independent origins and may require different educational interventions. Research has also shown that moderate anxiety, combined with high motivation, may actually enhance academic outcomes. Yulia evaluates how these, and other scientific findings can contribute to personalising education.
May 5th 2022: “”The Brain’s Crescendo – how music education impacts child development ” with Assal Habibi
Learning to play music is a complex task. It engages many different brain regions because it requires the concurrent recruitment of distinct sensory systems, including the auditory, somatosensory, and visual, as well as the interplay of these sensory systems with the motor, executive and affective systems.Assal Habibi will in this lecture provide an overview on how incorporating music education as part of the school curricula, can affect the brain development as well as academic achievement and social well-being of children and adolescents. Assal will specifically share findings from a multi-year longitudinal study, using behavioral, neuroimaging, and electrophysiological measures. In this study the effects of a group-based music training program on the development of children from under-resourced communities in Los Angeles, was investigated. The study demonstrates that participation in music education programs was associated with enhancement in brain development, as well as the development of emotion regulation and socio-emotional skills. The benefits of incorporating art-education programs in childhood education, specifically from the perspective of health and wellbeing, will be highlighted and are particularly relevant to mental health challenges facing children and adolescents during the COVID 19 pandemic.
February 4th 2022: “Oedipus Rex in the Genomic Era” with Yulia Kovas
In this seminar we will take a journey into the Genomic Era, taking Sophocles as a guide. We will explore the rapid genetic advances and ever expanding insights into the human genome. We will explore what these insights mean for the ancient themes of Sophocles’ tragedies: free will, fate, and chance; prediction, misinterpretation, the burden that comes with knowledge of the future; self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophecies; the forces that contribute to similarities and differences among people; roots and lineage; and the judgement of oneself and others. Using Oedipus Rex as a lens, we will examine existential, social, ethical, and legal concerns and dilemmas introduced by the genomic era – highlighting the relevance of behavioural genetics across the humanities, social and life sciences.
December 1st 2021 ”The social neuroaesthetics of dance and live performance” with Guido Orgs
Dance is an inherently social art form in which at least one person moves while another person watches. The aesthetic appreciation of dance is linked to the expression of emotions and intentions through the human body, and it can be conceptualised as a form of nonverbal communication via observed movement. In a series of lab and live performance studies, I will explore the idea that dance aesthetics depend on the saliency of social signals that are conveyed through both the individual and the collective kinematics of movement, including the variability and predictability of movement acceleration and the synchrony among a group of dance performers. Movement is the common denominator of dancing, making music and acting. Understanding the aesthetics of individual and joint action may thus provide a conceptual framework for an empirical aesthetics of the live performing arts.
May 4th 2021 “How rhythm and timing structure experience: Auditory perception, music and social interaction” with Laurel Trainor
Laurel Trainor is a Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University, a Research Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a Distinguished University Professor. She directs the Auditory Development Lab (https://trainorlab.mcmaster.ca/) and has published over 160 articles in journals including Science and Nature on the neuroscience of auditory development and the perception of music, including work on pitch, tonality, timing, rhythm, neuroplasticity, and the role of music in social interaction and developmental disorders. She co-holds a patent for the Neuro-compensator hearing aid. She is the founding and present director of the LIVELab (https://livelab.mcmaster.ca/), a unique research-concert hall with high acoustic control, that is equipped with multi-person motion capture and EEG for studying music performance and human interaction. Laurel also has a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Toronto and is currently principal flute of the Burlington Symphony.
15th april 2021 “Beyond the limit of sensorimotor skills of musicians” with Shinichi Furuya
Shinichi Furuya is a researcher and program manager at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, research associate professor at Sophia University, and a guest professor at Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media. After studying mechanical engineering, biomechanics, and motor neuroscience at Osaka University in Japan, he worked at University of Minnesota (USA), Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media (Germany), and Sophia University (Japan). He received the Postdoctoral Fellowship at Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Heisenberg Fellowship at German Research Foundation (DFG), and Susanne Klein-Vogelbach-Prize for the Research of Human Movement. His research goal is to support for musicians to overcome the limit of musical expertise and to prevent injuries through musical practicing. Toward the goal, he has studied neuroplastic and biomechanical mechanisms subserving acquisition, sophistication, loss, and restoration of sensorimotor skills in musical performance. He is also an organizer of the piano academy program hosted by Sony CSL, at which he provides physical education and technological support for young talented pianists.
25th February 2021 “Origin, Treatment and Prevention of Movement Disorders in Musicians” with Eckart Altenmüller
Speaker: Eckart Altenmüller, Institute of Music Physiology and Musician’s Medicin in Hannover
Date and time: Thursday 25th February at 15.00
Eckart Altenmüller is the Head of Department at the Institute of Music Physiology and Musician’s Medicin at Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. Apart from being a well known researcher in the field of Music and Neurology, he is also one of the leading clinical experts on medical ailments afflicting musicians, for example the illness known as musicians cramp. Eckart Altenmüller’s lecture this time will focus on neurological problems in musicians, and how they can be prevented and treated. The title of his lecture is The Origin, Treatment and Prevention of Movement Disorders in Musicians.