Robert Zatorre, PhD

Robert Zatorre, PhD
Contact Information
Email address: 
robert.zatorre [at]
BIC Core Faculty

Robert Zatorre is a cognitive neuroscientist whose laboratory studies the neural substrate for auditory cognition, with special emphasis on two complex and characteristically human abilities: speech and music. He and his collaborators have published over 280 scientific papers on topics including pitch perception, auditory imagery, absolute pitch, perception of auditory space, and the role of the mesolimbic reward circuitry in mediating musical pleasure. His research spans all aspects of human auditory processing, from studying the functional and structural properties of auditory cortices, to how these properties differ between the hemispheres, and how they change with training or sensory loss. His lab makes use of functional and structural MRI, MEG and EEG, and brain stimulation techniques, together with cognitive and psychophysical measures. In 2006 he became the founding co-director of the international laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound research (BRAMS), a unique multi-university consortium with state-of-the art facilities dedicated to the cognitive neuroscience of music. In 2011 he was awarded the IPSEN foundation prize in neuronal plasticity. In 2013, he won the Knowles prize in hearing research from Northwestern University, and in 2017 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2020, he was awarded the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize in Cognitive Sciences, the most prestigious international science prize in The Netherlands.

Selected publications: 

Coffey, E.B.J., Herholz, S.B., Chepesiuk, A.M.P., Baillet, S., and Zatorre, R.J. (2016) Cortical contributions to the auditory frequency-following response revealed by MEG. Nature Communications, 7:11070.

Albouy, P., Baillet, S., and Zatorre, R.J. (2017) Selective entrainment of theta oscillations in the dorsal stream causally enhances auditory working memory performance. Neuron, 94, 1-14.

Mas-Herrero, E., Dagher, A., and Zatorre, R.J. (2017) Modulating musical reward sensitivity up and down with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Nature Human Behaviour. doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0241-z

Du*, Y and Zatorre, R.J. (2017) Musical training sharpens and bonds ears and tongue to hear speech better. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.)., 114, 13579-13584. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1712223114.

Research areas: 
Cognitive Neuroscience

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