Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory


Neural encoding of music



Music Slideshow


Rhythm Slideshow


Music and the Mind
Sound Health (2018)

Music and the Mind: with Dr. Nina Kraus

Kennedy Center Performance
Sound Health (2018)

Say it with Rhythm! A Performance Demo with Dr. Nina Kraus featuring Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain

Music Therapy Conference
Music Therapy Conference (2018)

At the intersection of medicine, society and our personal lives

Music Together Conference
Music Together Conference (2018)

Join us to celebrate thirty years of making the world more musical!

Nina Kraus @ Sound Health 2017
Sound Health (2017)

Nina Kraus and the D.C. Youth Orchestra on Music and Childhood Development

Nina Kraus @ San Diego Symphony ARO 2016
Music in Mind: Nina Kraus & Charles Limb

Special presentation for the Association for Research in Otolaryngology at the San Diego Symphony, 2016

Nina Kraus @ CCMA Stanford 2016
Music and Language - A Brain Partnership

Presentation for the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at the Stanford University, 2016

Music Image

IM Image
Check out the info graphics for our publication
Clapping in time parallels literacy and calls upon overlapping neural mechanisms in early readers.



Kraus N, White-Schwoch T. New Connections in Music Therapy and Audiology. Hear J.
Bonacina S, Krizman J, White-Schwoch T, Kraus N. Clapping in time parallels literacy and calls upon overlapping neural mechanisms in early readers. Ann NY Acad Sci.
Slater, Kraus, Woodruff Carr, Tierney, Azem, Ashley. Speech-in-noise perception is linked to rhythm production skills in adult percussionists and non-musicians. Lang Cogn Neurosci.


Kraus, White-Schwoch. Neurobiology of everyday communication: what have we learned from music? Neuroscientist.
Woodruff Carr, Fitzroy, Tierney, White-Schwoch, Kraus. Incorporation of feedback during beat synchronization is an index of neural maturation and reading skills. Brain Lang.
Slater, Ashley, Tierney, Kraus. Got rhythm? Better inhibitory control is linked with more consistent drumming and enhanced neural tracking of the musical beat in adult percussionists and nonpercussionists J Cogn Neurosci.
Slater, Azem, Nicol, Swedenborg, Kraus. Variations on the theme of musical expertise: cognitive and sensory processing in percussionists, vocalists and non-musicians. Eur J Neurosci.
Intartaglia, White-Schwoch, Kraus, Schön. Music training enhances the automatic neural processing of foreign speech sounds. Sci Rep.
Kraus, White-Schwoch. Music keeps the hearing brain young. Hear J.


Tierney, Kraus. Getting back on the beat: links between auditory-motor integration and precise auditory processing at fast time scales. Eur J Neurosci.
Woodruff Carr, Tierney, White-Schwoch, Kraus. Intertrial auditory neural stability supports beat synchronization in preschoolers. Dev Cogn Neurosci.


Slater, Kraus. The role of rhythm in perceiving speech in noise: A comparison of percussionists, vocalists and non-musicians. Cogn Process.
Tierney, Kraus. Evidence for multiple rhythmic skills. Plos One.
Tierney, Krizman, Kraus. Music training alters the course of adolescent auditory development. PNAS.
Thompson, White-Schwoch, Tierney, Kraus. Beat Synchronization Across the Lifespan: Intersection of Development and Musical Experience. PlosOne.
Kraus, Anderson. Beat-keeping ability relates to reading readiness. Hear J.
Slater, Skoe, Strait, O'Connell, Thompson, Kraus Music training improves speech-in-noise perception: Longitudinal evidence from a community-based music program. Behav Brain Res.
Strait, Slater, O’Connell, Kraus. Music training relates to the development of neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention. Dev Cogn Neurosci.
Kraus, Strait. Emergence of biological markers of musicianship with school-based music instruction. Ann NY Acad Sci.
Kraus, Slater. Music and language: relations and disconnections. in The Human Auditory System: Fundamental Organization and Clinical Disorders, 3rd Series.
Skoe, Krizman, Spitzer, Kraus. Prior experience biases subcortical sensitivity to sound patterns. J Cogn Neurosci.
Lee, Skoe, Kraus, Ashley. Subcortical distortion products increase the harmonicity of consonant intervals. Music Percept.
Lehmann, Skoe, Moreau, Peretz, Kraus. Impairments in musical abilities reflected in the auditory brainstem: evidence from congenital amusia. Eur J Neurosci.


Kraus, Hornickel, Strait, Slater, Thompson. Engagement in community music classes sparks neuroplasticity and language development in children from disadvantaged backgrounds . Front Psychol.
Tierney, Kraus. Auditory-motor entrainment and phonological skills: precise auditory timing hypothesis (PATH). Front Hum Neurosci.
Kraus, Anderson. Community-based training shows objective evidence of efficacy. Hear J.
Slater, Strait, Skoe, O’Connell, Thompson, Kraus. Longitudinal effects of group music instruction on literacy skills in low-income children. PlosOne.
Kraus, Slater, Thompson, Hornickel, Strait, Nicol, White-Schwoch. Auditory learning through active engagement with sound: Biological impact of community music lessons in at-risk children. Front Aud Cogn Neurosci.
Tierney, Kraus. Neural entrainment to the rhythmic structure of music. J Cogn Neurosci.
Woodruff Carr, White-Schwoch, Tierney, Strait, Kraus. Beat synchronization predicts neural speech encoding and reading readiness in preschoolers. PNAS.
     Woodruff Carr et al., PNAS Supplemental Information
Kraus, Slater, Thompson, Hornickel, Strait, Nicol, White-Schwoch. Music enrichment programs improve the neural encoding of speech in at-risk children. J Neurosci.
Strait, O'Connell, Parbery-Clark, Kraus. Musicians’ enhanced neural differentiation of speech sounds arises early in life: developmental evidence from ages three to thirty. Cerebral Cortex.
Kraus, Anderson. Music benefits across the lifespan: Enhanced processing of speech in noise. Hear Rev.
Kraus, White-Schwoch. Music training: Lifelong investment to protect the brain from aging and hearing loss. Acoust Aust.
Strait, Kraus. Biological impact of auditory expertise across the life span: musicians as a model of auditory learning. Hear Res.
Kraus, Zatorre, Strait. Editors’ introduction to hearing research special issue: Music, a window into the hearing brain. Hear Res.
Kraus N, Zatorre RJ, Strait DL, eds Music: a window into the hearing brain. Hear Res.


Tierney, Kraus. Musical training for the development of language skills. In: Changing Brains – Applying Brain Plasticity to Advance and Recover Human Ability.
White-Schwoch, Woodruff Carr, Anderson, Strait, Kraus. Older adults benefit from music training early in life: Biological evidence for long-term training-driven plasticity. J Neurosci.
Tierney, Krizman, Skoe, Johnston, Kraus. High school music classes enhance the neural processing of speech. Front Psychol.
Tierney, Kraus. The ability to move to a beat is linked to the consistency of neural responses to sound. J Neurosci.
Slater, Tierney, Kraus. At-risk elementary school children with one year of classroom music instruction are better at keeping a beat. PlosOne.
Parbery-Clark, Strait, Hittner, Kraus. Musical training enhances neural processing of binaural sounds. J Neurosci.
Skoe, Kraus. Musical training heightens auditory brainstem function during sensitive periods in development. Front Psychol.
Barrett, Ashley, Strait, Kraus. Art and science: How musical training shapes the brain. Front Psychol.
Kraus. 20Q: Noise, aging and the brain - how experience and training can improve communication. AudiologyOnline.
Strait, OConnell, Parbery-Clark, Kraus. Biological impact of preschool music classes on processing speech in noise. Dev Cogn Neurosci.
Tierney, Kraus. Neural responses to sounds presented on and off the beat of ecologically valid music. Front Syst Neurosci.
Kraus. Playing music to improve hearing in noise and tune the brain. ENT Audiol News.
Kraus. Facing the music: Musianship's effect on the brain. Canadian Hearing Report.
Parbery-Clark, Anderson, Kraus. Musicians change their tune: how hearing loss alters the neural code. Hear Res.
Tierney, Kraus The ability to tap to a beat relates to cognitive, linguistic, and perceptual skills. Brain Lang.
Kraus, Anderson. Music training: An antidote for aging? Hear J.


Parbery-Clark, Anderson, Hittner, Kraus. Musical experience strengthens the neural representation of sounds important for communication in middle-aged adults. Front Aging Neurosci.
Strait, Parbery-Clark, Hittner, Kraus. Musical training during early childhood enhances the neural encoding of speech in noise. Brain Lang.
Skoe & Kraus A little goes a long way: how the adult brain is shaped by musical training in childhood. J Neurosci.
Parbery-Clark, Tierney, Strait, Kraus Musicians have fine-tuned neural distinction of speech syllables Neuroscience.
Kraus Biological impact of music and software-based auditory training J Commun Disord.
Strait, Chan, Ashley, Kraus Specialization among the specialized: auditory brainstem function is tuned in to timbre Cortex.
Parbery-Clark, Anderson, Hittner, Kraus Musical experience offsets age-related delays in neural timing Neurobiol Aging.
Kraus, Strait, Parbery-Clark Cognitive factors shape brain networks for auditory skills: spotlight on auditory working memory. Ann NY Acad Sci.


Strait, Hornickel, Kraus Subcortical processing of speech regularities predicts reading and music aptitude in children Behav Brain Funct.
Parbery-Clark, Strait, Kraus Context-dependent encoding in the auditory brainstem subserves enhanced speech-in-noise perception in musicians Neuropsychologia.
Marmel, Parbery-Clark, Skoe, Nicol, Kraus Harmonic relationships influence auditory brainstem encoding of chords NeuroReport.
Parbery-Clark, Strait, Anderson, Hittner, Kraus Musical experience and the aging auditory system: Implications for cognitive abilities and hearing speech in noise PLoS ONE.
Strait, Kraus Playing music for a smarter ear: Cognitive, perceptual and neurobiological evidence Music Percept.
Strait, Kraus Can you hear me now? Musical training shapes functional brain networks for selective auditory attention and hearing speech in noise. Front Psychol
Kraus Musical training gives edge in auditory processing Hear J.
Skoe, Kraus Human subcortical auditory function provides a new conceptual framework for considering modularity. In: Language and music as cognitive systems


Strait, Kraus, Parbery-Clark, Ashley Musical experience shapes top-down auditory mechanisms: evidence from masking and auditory attention performance Hear Res.
Kraus, Chandrasekaran Music training for the development of auditory skills Nature Rev Neurosci.
Chandrasekaran, Kraus Music, noise-exclusion, and learning Music Percept.
Kraus, Nicol The musician's auditory world Acoust Today.
Skoe, Kraus Hearing it again and again: on-line subcortical plasticity in humans. PLoS One.


Parbery-Clark, Skoe, Kraus Musical experience limits the degradative effects of background noise on the neural processing of sound J Neurosci.
Parbery-Clark, Skoe, Lam, Kraus Musician enhancement for speech in noise Ear Hear.
Lee, Skoe, Kraus, Ashley Selective subcortical enhancement of musical intervals in musicians J Neurosci.
Strait, Skoe, Kraus, Ashley Musical experience and neural efficiency: effects of training on subcortical processing of vocal expressions of emotion Eur J Neurosci.
Kraus, Skoe, Parbery-Clark, Ashley Experience-induced malleability in neural encoding of pitch, timbre and timing: implications for language and music Ann NY Acad Sci.
Strait, Skoe, Ashley, Kraus Musical experience promotes subcortical efficiency in processing emotional vocal sounds Ann NY Acad Sci.
Kraus, Skoe New directions: cochlear implants. Ann NY Acad Sci.


Musacchia, Strait, Kraus Relationships between behavior, brainstem and cortical encoding of seen and heard speech in musicians and nonmusicians Hear Res.
Stegemoller, Skoe, Nicol, Warrier, Kraus Musical training and vocal production of speech and song Music Percept.


Musacchia, Sams, Skoe, Kraus Musicians have enhanced subcortical auditory and audiovisual processing of speech and music PNAS.
Wong, Skoe, Russo, Dees, Kraus Musical experience shapes human brainstem encoding of linguistic pitch patterns Nature Neurosci.




Cognitive factors shape brain networks for auditory skills:
Keynote address at
Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC)
2011 conference


Brainstem Toolbox


Supported by:

Alisa Weilerstein

Alisa Weilerstein, with permission

NSF: Science of Learning Centers Program
NSF: Cognitive Neuroscience Program

The Grammy Foundation

National Association of Music Merchants

Knowles Hearing Center Northwestern University

National Science Foundation, NSF

Grammy  Foundation


Knowles Hearing Center