2013–2014 Graduate Collaboration Grant Awardees

Breaking Ice is an environment-inspired project that will culminate in a multimedia composition, incorporating live cello, interactive electronics and video projection. The project will speak to the increasing rate of melting and disintegrating glaciers by creating a laboratory-controlled model of the much larger-scale phenomenon. Iddo Aharony (Department of Music), Ivo Peters (Department of Physics), and Qin Xu (Department of Physics) will examine ice as it is crushed and melted, and the scientific data and footage obtained will then be transformed into the core material and inspiration for the musical/visual piece.

Faculty Advisors: Heinrich Jaeger, professor in physics and the James Franck Institute; and Howard Sandroff, director of the Computer Music Studio and senior lecturer in music.

Hearts Beating as One: Emotions and Physiology during Artistic Performance will investigate how people infer the emotions of others, with particular attention to the role that empathic accuracy has in creating a compelling artistic performance. In a set of experiments, the researchers will measure the physiology of actors and musicians while they simulate positive and negative emotions during a performance. The emotional and physiological reactions of audience members also will be recorded and compared to those of the performers to assess the emotional experiences of each group. The project team, the largest yet awarded a grant, is wide-ranging in discipline and includes Heather Harden (Department of Psychology), Elizabeth Necka (Department of Psychology), Patrick Fitzgibbon (Department of Music), and Elizabeth Hopkins (Department of Music).

Faculty Advisors: Greg Norman, assistant professor in psychology; Berthold Hoeckner, associate professor in music; and Howard Nusbaum, professor in psychology.

NeuroSonics: Rhythmic Stimulation of Epileptic Cell Cultures, a project of Andrew McManus (Department of Music) and Tahra Eissa (Department of Neurobiology), will explore a feedback loop between epileptic neurological processes and music with the objective to assess how rhythms affect pathological, neurological processes and neural plasticity, how the data from these processes might be translated back into musical sound, and what the musical results reveal about the original processes. The results of the experiment will provide a potential solution for the ongoing challenge of “humanizing” computer-generated sounds as well as provide insight on how a developing, epileptic neural network interacts with rhythmic stimulation.

Faculty Advisors: Wim van Drongelen, professor in pediatrics and computational neuroscience; and Howard Sandroff, director of the Computer Music Studio and senior lecturer in music.

Fiction Addiction will examine the conceptual overlap of the notion of “bingeing” on media intake and other modes of addiction. In this project, Bill Hutchison (Department of English) and Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience) will question how humans’ neurobiological brains and literary minds interact with “addictive” works of fiction. Through discussions with scholars from the humanities and sciences and by undertaking original research and investigations, the researchers hope to better understand humans’ compulsive relationship with fictional worlds. They will present their research via a website and a videotaped documentary.

Faculty Advisors: Harriet de Wit, professor in psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience; and Maud Ellmann, professor in English language and literature.


Julie Marie Lemon, Program Director and Curator



Breaking Ice
Hearts Beating as One: Emotions and Physiology during Artistic Performance
NeuroSonics: Rhythmic Stimulation of Epileptic Cell Cultures
Fiction Addiction