The brain that learns to sing and is changed by it

Wednesday 16 October 2019, 4.00PM to 5.30pm

Speaker(s): Dr Boris Alexander Kleber, Aarhus University (Denmark)

Describing the neural processes that mediate human vocalizations is fundamental to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and can tell us how our brain changes with experience. However, their neural dynamics as well as their modulation as a function of vocal skills training is still only poorly understood.
In this talk, I will introduce you to the fascinating world of cognitive neuroscience using the example of singing. You will learn about the basic hierarchies in the brain’s vocal control centers, how neuroimaging and neurostimulation methods are used to understand how singing can change your brain, and see novel data on the neural correlates of musical style and musical creativity.

Boris Kleber completed a Master of Science (2002) in Psychology at the University of Konstanz (Germany), received a PhD in Neuroscience (2009) from the University of Tübingen (Germany), and was awarded a higher doctorate degree (Habilitation) in Psychology from the University of Tübingen (2016). His main scientific interest is focused on the singing voice as a model for experience-dependent plasticity in the brain.

During his PhD, he worked with EEG Neurofeedback in the context of well-being and performance anxiety, and pioneered fMRI research with opera singers. This work was crucially developed during his post-doctoral research with Prof. Robert Zatorre at the Montreal Neurological Institute (QC, Canada) and with Prof. Niels Birbaumer in Tübingen, where he also used transcranial magnetic stimulation to probe the role of sensorimotor interactions.

Since 2016, Dr. Kleber is assistant professor at the Center for Music in the Brain, Aarhus University (Denmark), integrating his previous work on vocal motor control and interoception with the concept of predictive coding. Current projects aim at understanding the role of the somatosensory feedback subsystem in vocal production, vocal improvisation and creativity, as well as the role of reward in motor learning.

Beides research, Boris Kleber has also clinical experience, including psychological supervision in the treatment of pain related disorders and performance anxiety in performing artists, and in the development of programs in body awareness.

Location: Sally Baldwin D Block | D003