PhD viva Robert Harris
On February 6, Robert Harris defended his thesis called "The cerebral organization or audio engine transformations in music". In the thesis, which he has partly performed at the Department of Neurology, Harris has particularly studied the difference in the perception of sound between musicians who are able to improvise, non-improvising musicians and non-musicians.
The main result was that improvising musicians demonstrated extra brain activity in parts of the right hemisphere involved in planning movements and thus an important link between the perception and production of sounds. Another remarkable finding from the study was that patients with Parkinson's disease did not differ from healthy volunteers with regard to improvising melodies. The latter finding was also discussed in an artikel in an important Dutch newspaper.