LEAD is developing a set of coordinated music-related research activities focusing on cognition, emotion, music performance, and the use of music for the reeducation of impaired cognitive and motor function (in collaboration with the INSERM U887 “Motor Activity and Plasticity” lab).  The research on music cognition involves the perception and memorization of Western tonal musical structures (harmony, rhythm, etc.), the automation of learning to sight-read music, the interactions between the simultaneous processing of music and language, and the learning of contemporary classical music (in collaboration with P. Lalitte, a musicologist and associate researcher in our lab).  The goal of this research is to better understand how cognitive musical processes develop through explicit music learning (as experienced, say, in a music conservatory) compared to the development of these processes through passive, but repeated exposure to musical stimulation in the environment (as occurs with non-musicians).  The goal of our research on the emotions and music is to characterize the structure of the space of emotions produced by various styles of music.  We also study the time-course of emotional responses to music.   In particular, we have shown that an emotional response to the music appears extremely rapidly, after the first 250 ms. of listening to a piece of music.

Our most recent work involves the analysis of the musical performance of Western pianists, as well as Gypsy violonists (in collaboration with the CNRS Ethnomusicology lab at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris).  The goal of this work is to improve learning of string bass by young children (in collaboration with the Regional Music Conservatory in Dijon).

LEAD is also involved in the use of music as a means of reeducation of cognitive and motor function impaired by brain lesions.  The lab is currently the coordinator of a European Commission ITN project in this area (EBRAMUS: Europe BRAin and MUSic):  In particular, we are specialists in the use of music to cognitive stimulate deaf children and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, LEAD is currently developing, within the framework of the ERIE Initiative, a major project to fight the decline of cognitive function with age through learning and practice of music with early-age senior citizens.