Research Question - How do music, reward and memory interact?
Any field within the neurosciences has much to gain by interfacing with other scientific areas. In my research, I study apparently differentiated fields: language learning and reward on the one hand, and music, reward and memory on the other. In a series of studies, I showed how new word learning from written context, in absence of external feedback, modulates brain activity not only in cortical areas related to language processing, but also in subcortical reward, memory and dopamine related regions (Ripollés et al., 2014, 2016, 2018). In the music domain, I have participated in studies assessing the potential of music-based interventions to induce plastic changes in the audio-motor network after stroke (Ripollés et al., 2016). My current efforts are aimed to assess the relationship between music and different aesthetic judgments tied to reward (e.g., liking and pleasantness). My research relies on creating a joint theoretical framework to study reward, memory and music with a clear objective: capitalize on music to shape cognition, and capitalize on cognition to shape music.