How We Hear

Josh McDermott is a perceptual scientist who studies sound and hearing. Operating at the intersection of psychology, neuroscience and engineering, McDermott has made groundbreaking discoveries about how people hear and interpret information from sound in order to make sense of the world around them. His long-term goals are to improve treatments for those whose hearing is impaired, and to enable the design of machine systems that mirror human abilities to interpret sound. In parallel, McDermott studies music perception. His lab studies the perceptual abilities that allow us to appreciate music, their basis in the brain, and their variation across cultures. As he explains it “music also provides great examples of many interesting phenomena in hearing, and as such, is a constant source of inspiration for basic hearing research.”