Emily Wood is a undergraduate thesis student in the SMART lab. Her interest in music cognition and neuroscience has stemmed from her life-long musical endeavours—she has been playing piano since the age of 5. After obtaining a BMus in Jazz Piano Performance at McGill, Emily joined the lab as a research assistant in 2016. Initially Emily worked on a project examining the benefits of choir training on auditory perception abilities in older adults. Later she extended this work by tracking individuals who stayed in the choir for additional sessions. In the summer of 2018, Emily completed an NSERC USRA, during which time she helped design an experiment investigating the role of the motor system in memory for vocal vs. instrumental timbre melodies.
For her thesis project, Emily is investigating whether the amount of music training one has can predict auditory outcomes, such as the ability to perceive speech in noise and the bottom-up neural representation of sound. In the future, she is interested in using physiological methods to investigate musicians’ speech perception advantages in difficult listening situations. Emily is also interested in how music training shapes new neural connections, and how pitch and beat perception develop. She hopes to combine her love for music, psychology, and computer programming in these pursuits.
When Emily is not studying, she likes to play tunes, teach piano, knit, and write MATLAB programs.
PS – The cat ears in the photo are part of an EEG headset that measures changes in electrical activity in the brain. They start to wiggle when they pick up electrical activity associated with focus or interest!