Josh McDermott

Photo of Prof. McDermott
Josh
McDermott
Investigator

Department: 

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Associated Research Thrust: 

Josh McDermott obtained his PhD from MIT in 2006 and has returned in January 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, moving from Oxford University, where he has been a visiting scientist during 2012. Prior to that, he was a research associate at New York University (2009-2012) and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota (2007-2008). Dr. McDermott is the recipient of a Marshall Scholarship, a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, and an NSF CAREER Award.

Dr. McDermott studies sound and hearing using tools from experimental psychology, engineering, and neuroscience. He seeks to understand how humans derive information from sound, and in particular how they succeed in real-world conditions that cause even the most powerful state-of-the-art computer algorithms to fail, for instance in recognizing speech amid background noise. He aims to use the contrast between biological and machine hearing systems to reveal the workings of biological hearing, to improve prosthetic devices for aiding those with hearing impairment, and to design better computer algorithms for analyzing sound. Research in his lab will explore how humans recognize real-world sound sources, segregate particular sounds from the mixture that enters the ear (the cocktail party problem), and remember and/or attend to particular sounds of interest. He also studies music perception and cognition.

Room: 

MIT Bldg. 46, Rm. 46-4065

Phone: 

(617) 253-7437

Advisees

Alex Kell - Graduate Student
Wiktor Młynarski - Postdoctoral Associate
James Traer - Graduate Student

Projects

Publications

W. Mlynarski and McDermott, J. H., Lossy Compression of Uninformative Stimuli in the Auditory System, Association for Otolaryngology Mid-Winter Meeting. 2017.
W. Mlynarski and McDermott, J. H., Learning Mid-Level Codes for Natural Sounds, Association for Otolaryngology Mid-Winter Meeting. 2017.
W. Mlynarski and McDermott, J. H., Learning Mid-Level Codes for Natural Sounds, Advances and Perspectives in Auditory Neuroscience. 2016.
W. Mlynarski and McDermott, J. H., Learning mid-level codes for natural sounds, Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne) 2016. Salt Lake City, UT, 2016.
J. Traer and McDermott, J. H., Statistics of natural reverberation enable perceptual separation of sound and space, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113, no. 48, pp. E7856 - E7865, 2016.