The Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory is directed by Dr. Robert Zatorre. We aim to achieve a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying complex auditory processes in the human brain. Our lab explores how the auditory nervous system allows us to perceive, understand, remember and imagine sounds. We focus on the two most complex and characteristically human uses of sound, speech and music. Notably, music serves as an excellent model for a number of current research directions, including sensory-motor integration in the context of singing or playing an instrument, brain plasticity associated with musical training, and the interaction between the reward system and other brain circuits in the context of musical pleasure.
Our research takes advantage of a wide range of methodologies, including psychophysical and cognitive tasks, functional brain imaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography, and positron emission tomography), structural brain imaging and morphometry using MRI, and brain stimulation techniques (transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation). Increasingly, our research is multimodal in nature, involving multiple brain imaging techniques, with the overall goal of establishing relationships between the brain, cognition, and behaviour.


  • March 2021: Reiko Matsushita publishes a paper on pitch learning in NeuroImage and Mor Regev publishes a paper in Cerebral Cortex on musical imagery. 
  • Feb 2021: Dr. Sebastian Puschmann, Dr. Mor Regev, Dr. Sylvain Baillet, and Dr. Zatorre publish their latest work in the Journal of Neuroscience: MEG inter-subject phase-locking of stimulus-driven activity during naturalistic speech listening correlates with musical training.
  • June-July 2020: Eight past and present lab members (Heather Whittaker, Philippe Albouy, Neomi Singer, Marcel Farrés Franch, Ben Gold, Alix Noly-Gandon, Sebastian Dresbach, and Mor Regev) virtually present their work at the 2020 Organization for Human Brain Mapping annual meeting.
  • June 2020: Dr. Zatorre receives the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize, one of the Netherlands’ top honours, for his contributions to the fields of auditory processing and music cognition. Congratulations!
  • March 2020: Reiko successfully defends her PhD. Congratulations, Dr. Matsushita!
  • January 2020: Manon Palmer joins the lab as an Undergraduate Research Assistant! She will be working with Marcel Farrés Franch on the relevance of auditory stimuli during fMRI naturalistic listening.
  • September 2019: Emily Chen and Lucy Core join the lab as Undergraduate Research Assistants! They will be working with Isabelle Areseneau-Bruneau on a project examining the neuroplasticity mechanisms related to musical training from the fundamental level of auditory processing.

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