That’s the question I often get asked when I begin to explain my research. It’s a fantastic question. I mean, how exciting would it be to actually develop subliminal messages? Ethically dubious (at best), but exciting none-the-less. No, my aims are much less grandiose than world domination.
That being said, audio-in-media research seems to be underrepresented as a whole. There’s probably a litany of reasons, ranging from lack of interest to difficulty of understanding the neurological responses to audio compared to visuals. The prior is something I have in copious amounts and the latter I am equally baffled. But regardless of the difficulty, as every research area has its own challenges, there is presently a dearth of knowledge and I am working to help fill the gaps.
Generally, my current research projects all keep me in the realm of cognitive processing of media and using psychophysiological data to help express that processing. One project is looking at evolved vs symbolic visual and aural communication. More on this one later as it develops. Another, which we’ve taken to calling “My Missing Bridge,” is about cognition of familiar songs that have been edited to remove most verses and – you guessed it – the bridge. “My Missing Bridge” has recently been accepted to the 2014 International Communication Association conference. Another study that’s gearing up is about reinterpreting the venerable Fletcher-Munson study through the lens of LC4MP. I’m really excited about this one, as it could lay some important groundwork for future study. Another that’s quickly growing legs is focused on generative music in video games: can a generative soundtrack increase flow? Aside from audio, I’m involved in a study that involves collecting psychophysiology data on people viewing pornography with Dr. Bryant Paul, who has a great nickname.
So that’s what I’m up to right now. I’ll post updates as they become available.