My work is devoted to understanding the power of music to help understand the mysteries of the brain
and how music can help in the development and healing of the brain.

Tzyy-Ping Iversen

John Iversen is a cognitive neuroscientist studying music and the brain. He is currently an Associate Research Scientist at UC San Diego in the Institute for Neural Computation, and an Associate Director of the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience. After undergraduate studies in Physics at Harvard, John received graduate degrees in Philosophy of Science and in Speech at Cambridge, and received a PhD in Speech and Hearing Science from MIT. After a decade at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, he joined UCSD. His work has focused on the study of rhythm perception and production in music and language, spanning behavioral and neuroscience approaches. His work has addressed the role of culture in rhythm perception, if rhythm perception is specially tied to the auditory sense, and brain mechanisms involved in generating the perceived beat in music. Increasingly he is directing this work towards applications to medicine and education. He is currently directing the SIMPHONY project at UCSD, a longitudinal study of the effect of music training on children's brain and cognitive development. Woven through this work is a desire to understand how we actively shape our perceptions of the world. John draws from a background in physics and neuroscience and a life-long interest in percussion.


Research projects have included studies of

  1. The impact of music training on a child's brain and cognitive development
  2. The mechanisms and evolutionary changes enabling us to hear 'the beat'in music and dance
  3. How the motor system is needed even to perceive music
  4. How we can measure interpersonal interactions through group brain dynamics