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Music on the Brain

An electrical engineer-turned-neuroscientist tries to unwrap the mysteries of pitch to improve cochlear implants.


Feb. 2017—About 10 years ago, electrical engineer-turned-neuroscientist Xiaoqin Wang visited a school for the deaf in his native China. A teacher brought a boy wearing a cochlear implant over to greet him. When the boy formed the traditional words “Hi, Uncle,” they came out with a distorted pitch, as if he had a big tongue. Wang explains that the boy was perfectly capable of pronouncing the words correctly, but he was unaware of his error. “That’s partly because cochlear implants don’t distinguish pitch well,” he says… Learn about his research here.