In my research, I examine how individuals come to understand communicative sound structures in their cultural environment such as music and language. By examining what listeners know, when they know it, and how they learn it, this research contributes to a growing body of basic scientific knowledge that has implications for developmental disorders related to language and reading, movement and coordination therapies, as well as rehabilitation after stroke or neural insult.
Erin Hannon's research aims to understand the development of culture-specific and domain-specific knowledge of complex sound structures such as music and speech. Using cross-cultural comparisons, she examines how mechanisms underlying perception of music arise and change from infancy through adulthood as a result of experience in one's culture and cognitive developmental processes that are independent of culture. In current work she investigates (1) How perception of musical rhythm and meter is constrained during infancy and reorganized as a result of everyday exposure to music, (2) Whether or not there are critical period-like effects in acquisition of musical knowledge, (3) The development of intermodal perception in a musical context (e. g., perception of dancing and the development of synchronized movement to music), (4) Parallels between music and speech in rhythm perception and rule-learning, and (5) The effects of musical experience (such as music lessons) on musical and non-musical cognitive abilities.
Dr. Hannon earned her 2005 Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Cornell University.