Ep. 27: Are musicians better able to pick up subtle emotional cues? with Dr. Nina Kraus

January 28, 2020

Brain research shows that musicians’ training increases their sensitivity to the emotion in all sounds – a highly useful skill in personal, business, and academic relationships. Dr. Kraus finds thatsound processing is biologically intertwined with listening and language skills,and says, “Probably the healthiest thing we can do for our brains is to make music.” 


Our guest today is Dr. Nina Kraus, Professor of Communication Sciences, Neurobiology, and Otolaryngology at Northwestern University. She is a scientist, inventor, and amateur musician who uses hearing as a window into brain health. She uses the principles of neuroscience to improve human communication, and advocate for best practices in education, health, and social policy.



Dr. Kraus tells a story about playing a little music every day.


  • Dr. Kraus encourages listeners to explore Northwestern’s Brainvolts Lab website. “The website is a labor of love; we update it almost daily. Please begin with our website tour (link on homepage). Check out the overview slideshow offered for each project. For a snapshot of our biological approach, see at the animated demonstration on our homepage.” [Direct link to Music Projects]
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Dr. Kraus shares a video of herself improvising on the harmonica with local musicians playing for at a science conference dinner in Sweden.

Closing Words

Thank you so much for joining me today!  I’ll be here again next Tuesday with some answers to a common question parents have when their child is taking music lessons. New this Week: If your business would like to advocate for music and music education, you can now do so by supporting Enhance Life with Music! All funds go directly into covering the costs of producing the podcast, and are recognized with in-episode mentions of your business or organization, and placement of your logo and link in episode show notes. For more info, click Support the Show. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.  Disclosure: Some of this site’s product links are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, for purchases made through these links. 

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