Petr Janata

Petr Janata's picture
Associate Professor


(530) 297-4471

Lab Webpage:


Dr. Janata is interested in how basic neural systems that underlie perception, attention, memory, action, and emotion interact in the context of natural behaviors, with an emphasis on music.

Current projects use musical stimuli and tasks to:

  • understand the structure of autobiographical memory and associated emotions
  • map the cortical representation of musical structures that implicitly guide our perception of music
  • examine how people spontaneously move to music
  • examine the degree to which mental processes underlying expectancy and imagery are functionally homologous
  • examine selective attention processes underlying auditory scene analysis

His lab uses behavioral, functional neuroimaging (EEG/ERP, fMRI), and computational modeling techniques as needed.


Interests: psychology of music, cognitive neuroscience, neuroethology

Courses Taught:
PSC 136 Psychology of Music
PSC 209A Introduction to Programming: Matlab
PSC 135 Cognitive Neuroscience

Selected Publications: 

For a more current and complete list, please click here.

Navarro Cebrian, A., & Janata, P. (2010). Influences of multiple memory systems on auditory mental image acuity. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 127(5) 3189-3202.

Janata, P. (2009). The neural architecture of music-evoked autobiographical memories. Cerebral Cortex, 19, 2579-2594.

Tomic, S. T., & Janata, P. (2008). Beyond the beat: modeling metric structure in music and performance. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 124(6): 4024–4041.

Janata, P., & Grafton, S. T. (2003). Swinging in the brain: shared neural substrates for behaviors related to sequencing and music. Nature Neuroscience, 6(7), 682-687.

Tillmann, B., Janata, P., Birk, J., & Bharucha, J. J. (2003). The costs and benefits of tonal centers for chord processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29(2), 470-482.

Janata, P., Birk, J. L., Tillmann, B., & Bharucha, J. J. (2003). Online detection of tonal pop-out in modulating contexts. Music Perception, 20(3), 283-305.

Tillmann, B., Janata, P., & Bharucha, J. J. (2003). Activation of the inferior frontal cortex in musical priming. Cognitive Brain Research, 16, 145-161.

Janata, P., Birk, J. L., Van Horn, J.D., Leman, M., Tillmann, B., & Bharucha, J. J. (2002). The cortical topography of tonal structures underlying Western music. Science. 298:21672170.

Janata, P., Tillmann, B., and Bharucha, J. J. (2002). Listening to polyphonic music recruits domain-general attention and working memory circuits. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. 2(2). 121140.

Adams, R. B., & Janata, P. (2002). A comparison of neural circuits underlying auditory and visual object categorization. NeuroImage, 16, 361-377.

Other Affiliations: 
Psychology Center for Mind and Brain Neuroscience
Current Students: 
Jason Golubock Fred Barrett Jonah Cox Brian Hurley
Postdocs and Research Personnel: 
Stefan Tomic
Former Personnel: 
Ana Navarro Cebrian Bradley Vines Julia Grieser

Current Students

Name Phone Email
Jason Golubock
Fred Barrett
Jonah Cox
Brian Hurley

Postdocs and Research Personnel

Name Current Position Title Phone Email
Stefan Tomic

Former Personnel

Name Position
Ana Navarro Cebrian
Bradley Vines
Julia Grieser