Broadly, I am interested in the natural history of nervous systems and the roles of selection and plasticity in shaping how we interact with the world. As an undergraduate student at UCSD, I completed degrees in Psychology (BS) and Neurophilosophy (BA) under the supervision of Patricia Churchland. As a graduate student at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, I completed my PhD in Neurobiology in the lab of Dale Purves. My thesis research on "the biological basis of emotion in musical tonality", argued that we associate musical modes (e.g., major and minor) with particular emotions (e.g., joy and sadness) because those systems imitate the tonal characteristics of vocalizations in the corresponding emotional states.
My current research with Tecumseh Fitch is focused on the physiological and psychological consequences of rhythmic synchronization and their implications for the evolution of music. Having demonstrated that regular rhythms result from inter-individual synchronization, we are currently examining how perceiving and participating in synchronous activities effect physiology and social behavior.