Educated at the University of Oxford and trained musically on both sides of the Atlantic, Merle is equally driven by a passion for art and science. Her days are split between work in cognitive neuroscience and exploring the rich repertoire of art song. In an attempt to bring her two worlds together, she has explored sensory perception in various modalities including how we perceive artistic experiences (how we listen to a duet, visual depth perception of real artworks, being in sync - a model of group music making) while maintaining an active performance schedule.
Merle's research has focused on how sensory information is modulated, integrated and perceived. She is specifically interested in attentional mechanisms that facilitate streaming and "tuning" of perceived events (tuning the pain experience by anticipation, streaming of self and other relevant streams). Sensory perception in social instances (e.g. joint action tasks) seems to require higher order processing of more basic sensory signals and as such some of her studies have explored more interactive scenarios. Her current post in the LMU Philosophy of Mind allows her to bring her expertise in cognitive neuroscience and specifically neuroimaging to collaborative studies of uni- and multimodal sensory processing working with philosophers and artists. (click for full CV)
Through strong connections and friendships with pianists from both sides of the Atlantic, Merle has enjoyed her ongoing education in classical art song with performances around the world including at the Lincoln Centre (New York), the Schumann House (Leipzig), The Edge Theater (Melbourne) and the Holywell Music Room (Oxford). Merle is most comfortable communicating through song in the intimate setting of salon-like recitals and this form of music making has been her focus for the past few years while balancing her academic and musical careers. (click for full biography)