Caroline Palmer

Academic title(s): 


Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Performance
(Tier I)


Contact Information:


Office: 2001 McGill College, Room 652
Phone: 514.398.6128
Email: caroline.palmer[at]


Mailing Address:
Department of Psychology
2001 McGill College Avenue
7th Floor
Montreal, QC
H3A 1G1


Caroline Palmer

Dr. Palmer is the Director of the NSERC-CREATE training grant in Complex Dynamics; an Associate Member of the Schulich School of Music; and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Research Areas:

Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience | Behavioral Neuroscience

Research Summary:

From cradle to grave, people across all documented societies use music to soothe, to invigorate, to bond with others, and even to self-medicate. My research program focuses on how and why music moves us by studying how people make music, from simple rhythms to complex ensemble performances. Music, speech, and other auditory behaviors engage attention, intention, memory, motor control, and emotions. My research focuses on the time course of these processes. One theme addresses the nonlinear dynamics underlying the production of auditory sequences. Speech, music, and other human sounds follow predictable patterns or rhythmic regularities that can be modeled in terms of oscillations. We apply principles of nonlinear dynamics to understand how people move in response to sound (such as clapping or tapping their feet) and how they act in response to a partner in a joint task (such as musical ensemble). A second theme addresses the temporal coordination that underlies skilled performance, and properties of goal-directed movement that allow individuals to synchronize their actions with sensory feedback and with other individuals. See our lab website for more information.

Selected References:

Scheurich, R., Demos, A., Zamm, A., Mathias, B., & Palmer, C. (2019). Capturing intra- and inter-brain dynamics with recurrence quantification analysis. In A.K. Goel, C.M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2748-2754). Montreal, QC: Cognitive Science Society.

Palmer, C. (2019). A postdoc is not the only career option for new Psychology PhDs. Presented at the WiCS-Canada meeting, Waterloo ON, June.

Lagrois, M.-E., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2019). Poor synchronization to musical beat generalizes to speech. Brain Sciences, 9, 1-20. doi:10.3390/brainsci9070157

Demos, A.P., Layeghi, H., Wanderley, M.M., & Palmer, C. (2019). Staying together: A bidirectional delay-coupled approach to joint action. Cognitive Science, 43. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12766

Schultz, B.G., & Palmer, C. (2019). The roles of musical expertise and sensory feedback in beat keeping and joint action. Psychological Research, 83(3), 419–431. doi: 10.1007/s00426-019-01156-8

Mathias, B., Gehring, W.J., & Palmer, C. (2019). Electrical brain responses reveal sequential constraints on planning during music performance. Brain Sciences, 9, 25. doi:10.3390/brainsci9020025

Palmer, C., Spidle, F., Koopmans, E., Schubert, P. (2019). Ears, head and eyes: When singers synchronize. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(9), 2272-2287. doi:10.1177/1747021819833968

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