Floris van Vugt, Ph.D.
I’m Assistant Professor at the psychology department of Université de Montréal. I was born below the sea level in the Netherlands and studied in exotic places such as Paris, Pisa, Los Angeles, Hanover and Lyon. I originally did mathematics but then retooled to become a cognitive scientist and theoretical linguist and I also worked on neurorehabilitation using music. I first came to Canada in 2014 for a postdoc at McGill and I guess I never really left. I play the baroque oboe and Armenian duduk as a pastime that got out of control. I’m also unreasonably passionate about Jungian psychology and interpersonal communication but don’t get me started.
I’m interested in sensorimotor learning and human connection. I’m interested in how the brain learns the connection between movement and perception. When you first learn to speak or play a musical instrument, you need to learn which movement results in which sounds: a sensorimotor map. In my research I have developed an experimental paradigm inspired by instrument learning in which participants make movements to auditory targets. This has allowed us to study the behavioral and neural underpinnings of map learning but we have really only begun to understand how the brain achieves this feat. A second line of research concerns the use of music as a tool for social integration. This line of research is aimed at understanding how we can overcome divisions in our fragmented society, such as divisions that arise from migration history, education, political views or language and culture. Music, the universal language, holds potential to bridge these gaps and I am passionate to learn how it can be brought to fruition to bring about a world with more understanding between people.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
University: University of Montreal