My name is Samuel Mehr.

I study the basic science of music: in my lab, we ask what music is, how music works, and why music exists

With support from the NIH Director's Early Independence Award and from the Harvard Data Science Initiative, I direct the Harvard Music Lab, where we use many approaches from the cognitive sciences to address these questions. 

For instance, in experiments with people of all ages, we examine behavioral and physiological responses to music. In the Natural History of Song project, we investigate regularities and variation in music from over 100 societies. In perception experiments, we learn what people understand about the music they hear, even when that music is from foreign cultures. In longitudinal work with infants and parents, we study the impacts of musical behaviors on health outcomes.

In graduate school, I was mentored by Howard Gardner, Liz Spelke, and Steve Pinker. During that time, my research took place in the Laboratory for Developmental Studies and, with Max Krasnow, in the Evolutionary Psychology Laboratory.

I am an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, grew up in Cambridge and now split my time between there and New Zealand, where I collaborate with researchers at the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington.
This is a picture of me (by Jason Nemirow)
This is a picture of my brain (by Anna Leshinskaya & Alek Chakroff)