Mapping ‘the magic’ of music, movement and the brain

November 17, 2021

Psychology professor, Jessica Grahn

Photo by Sylvie Li / Shoot Studio

A new research grant for Western neuroscientist and psychology professor Jessica Grahn will open more opportunities to investigate the link between music and movement, and potential interventions to help Parkinson’s disease patients.

Grahn has been awarded a 2021 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The prestigious fellowship comes with a $250,000 research stipend and two years of protected research time.

The award recognizes Grahn’s major contributions to the fields of psychology and neuroscience as the first researcher to establish the neural link between hearing musical rhythm and spontaneous activation of the brain’s motor control system.

As a member of Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (BMI), Grahn investigates why humans move to rhythm. “I am interested in how the sound processing system in the brain creates magic in the movement system (portion) of the brain,” Grahn said.

Read the full story by Keri Ferguson