Solena Mednicoff

PhD Candidate

University of California, Irvine


I am a PhD Candidate in Cognitive Sciences with an emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience. My research interests include music cognition, neuroscience, learning and behavior, as well as user engagement & analytics.

I lead and collaborate with research groups to investigate the neurobiology of listening to major and minor music. I also manage and work with a communications team to create content for the UC Irvine Graduate Division social media platforms.


  • Music Cognition
  • Music Information Retrieval
  • Data Science
  • Social Media Research & Analytics


  • PhD in Cognitive Sciences, exp. 2021

    University of California, Irvine

  • MS in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2017

    University of California, Irvine

  • BS in Neuroscience, 2015

    University of Nevada, Reno

  • Minor in Piano Performance, 2015

    University of Nevada, Reno






Technical Writing

Critical Thinking



Graduate Student Researcher - Social Media

UC Irvine Graduate Division

Jun 2019 – Present California

Create content and marketing campaigns for the UC Irvine Graduate Division Social Media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Job duties include:

  • Coordinate and manage workflows
  • Develop strategic content & communications
  • Implement various marketing campaigns across platforms for different departments
  • Analyze user metrics to improve audience retention and engagement

Instructor/ Teaching Associate

UC Irvine

Sep 2018 – Aug 2018 California

Taught a Psychology Fundamentals/Psychology & Social Behaviors summer session course. Created my own lectures, learning activities, and examination materials for 50+ students.

Topics taught include:

  • Biological bases of behavior (emotional & social)
  • Learning & Memory
  • Developmental psychology
  • Neuroscience

Pre-doctoral Research Fellow

Center for Hearing Research

Jul 2016 – Jul 2018 California
Two year research fellowship awarded to gain experience in analyzing auditory and audiosignal processing, Monte Carlo simulations, modeling, as well as analyzing audio- and spectrograms.

Graduate Student Researcher - Cognitive Sciences

UC Irvine

Sep 2015 – Present California

Why do we perceive emotions in music and speech? My research examines the sensitivity of the human auditory system to the emotional content in music and speech.

Job duties include:

  • Develop experiments & models that investigate the human auditory system
  • Analyze results for fMRI and behavioral experiments
  • Create mentorships and manage research teams



Emotional Speech Prosody Projects

Comparing the behavior of major & minor music listening to speech.

The Neural Substrates of Tonality

Exploring the neurobiology of major & minor music listening.

Can training improve performance?

We show that despite extensive training, performance is not improved for most listeners on the tone-scramble task.

Differences in Presentation Rate of Musical Stimuli

Many listeners cannot discriminate major vs. minor tone-scrambles regardless of presentation rate.

Recent News & Upcoming Talks

Discriminating Major/Minor Modes Revisited - can training help?

This project looked at whether listeners can learn to discriminate the two stimuli over time with a training regimen. Training occurred …

Assessing Emotional Processing in People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

People internalize different emotional connotations when they listen to speech in conversation; similarly, people interpret different …

The Effects of Tone Duration in Discriminating Major/Minor Modes

The major and minor scales play vital roles in western music; however, many listeners have difficulty discriminating between major vs. …

Recent Blog Posts

Psych 101

How to apply a cognitive science standpoint to the world of social media and practice being a good scientist

Music Videos

Collection of videos of me performing for competitions or jurys.

Musical Chills

Musical Chills & Dopamine.


  • 234 Pereira Dr, Irvine, CA, 92617, United States
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