I’m a 4th year graduate student in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, working with Josh McDermott and Nancy Kanwisher. My research is focused on understanding how acoustic information is represented in the human auditory system, using neuroimaging (mainly fMRI), psychophysics, and computational modeling. Topics of active research include:

The Organization of Human Auditory Cortex

The auditory system is remarkably good at transforming the pressure wave that hits the eardrum into a useful description of the acoustic environment at the level of the cortex. Although considerable research has investigated the early, subcortical stages of this process, less is known about cortical function. Inspired by classic work on visual cortex, we are using fMRI to answer basic questions about the organization of auditory cortex in humans. 


Neural and Computational Basis of Pitch Perception

Many natural sounds such as speech and music are periodic. As a consequence, the ability to perceive periodic structure, known as pitch perception, is a central component of hearing:  aiding voice recognition, source separation (e.g. the cocktail party problem), music perception and many other perceptual abilities. Using psychophysics and computational models, we are investigating how periodicity information is represented in real-world settings, such as when listening to speech and music. Using fMRI we are testing how these representations are instantiated neurally.


E-mail me (svnh@mit.edu) if you have any questions, or are interested in learning more about my research.