MCCHE Precision Convergence Webinar Series with Randy McIntosh

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 11:00to13:00

Maybe We Can Access the Brain’s Hidden Repertoire Through Music...

By Randy McIntosh

Simon Fraser University, Canada

With High-Level Panel of Leaders in Science, Technology, On-the-Ground Action, and Policy

Music is culturally ubiquitous, supporting social and personal functions. Music listening and performing seem to engage several brain networks. The broad engagement opens the possibility of identifying key personal brain signatures that reflect the capacity of brain systems to work together. This potential meshes well with the evolving theory of Structured Flow on Manifolds (SFM), where the manifolds define potentials, and the flow represents actual expressions of network dynamics. My talk will lay the foundation for these ideas and the link to music listening. When we consider music as having similar SFM properties as the brain, a connection may be formed by linking the music flows and brain flows. A panel will follow to discuss how music can serve as prototype for tracing how environmental flows of other types (i.e., physical and social) interact with brain flows to inform precision convergence science and clinical innovations.

About the speaker

Randy McIntosh’s research program is geared to the development of a unified theory of brain operation that emphasizes the integrative capacity of the brain. One tenet of the theory is that cognitive operations emerge from the interactions between brain areas rather than being the sole responsibility of single regions. The program has two related arms: one to do with technical developments to explore brain integration, and the other with the collection of experimental evidence for this integration. This second arm uses modern brain imaging methods to explore the neural networks in human learning. One surprising outcome of this work has been the profound involvement of sensory processing regions of the brain in rather complex cognitive operations. This suggests that human cognition involves the active interaction among brain regions that processes specific sensory information (e.g., visual, auditory) and the mediating areas, such as prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobes. In collaboration with Dr Cheryl Grady, we are undertaking a series of studies of the aged to explore whether age-related changes in cognition come about through physiological alterations in sensory systems, the mediating systems, or in the interaction between them.

About the series

The Precision Convergence series is launched to catalyze unique synergy between, on the one hand, novel partnerships across sciences, sectors and jurisdictions around targeted domains of real-world solutions, and on the other hand, a next generation convergence of AI with advanced research computing and other data and digital architectures such as PSC’s Bridges-2, and supporting data sharing frameworks such as HuBMAP, informing in a real time as possible the design, deployment and monitoring of solutions for adaptive real-world behaviour and context.

The Precision Convergence Webinar Series is co-hosted by The McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) at McGill University and The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, a joint computational research centre between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.


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