Music, Mind and Medicine: Creativity and Consciousness in Clinical Care

John Iversen

John Iversen is a cognitive neuroscientist studying music and the brain. He is currently an Associate Project Scientist at UC San Diego in the Institute for Neural Computation. After undergraduate studies in Physics at Harvard, John received graduate degrees in Philosophy of Science and in Speech at Cambridge, and received a PhD in Speech and Hearing Science from MIT. After a decade at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, he is currently at UCSD at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience. His work has focused on the study of rhythm perception and production in music and language, spanning behavioral and neuroscience approaches. His work has addressed the role of culture in rhythm perception, whether rhythm perception is specially tied to the auditory sense, and brain mechanisms involved in generating the perceived beat in music. Increasingly he is directing this work towards applications to medicine and education. He is currently directing the SIMPHONY project at UCSD, a longitudinal study of the effect of music training on children's brain and cognitive development. Woven through this work is a desire to understand how we actively shape our perceptions of the world. John draws from a background in physics and neuroscience and a life-long interest in percussion, which currently finds expression through Japanese taiko drum performance with San Diego Taiko, a group that he co-founded in 2004.