Solena D. Mednicoff, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


I am a Postdoctoral Research Scholar working with Drs. Erin Hannon, Joel Snyder, and Stephen Benning to study Misophonia. My research interests include the neuroscience behind why we enjoy music and how the brain interprets and responds to music.

Growing up in Las Vegas, I’ve trained as a semi-professional pianist and graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts. After high school, I discovered my passion for science at University of Nevada, Reno where I earned a B.S. in Neuroscience and minor in piano performance. I then went on to earn my Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences, with an emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience, at UC Irvine where my dissertation examined the cognitive and neural mechanisms of how people process major/minor musical modes.


  • Music Cognition
  • Misophonia
  • Music Information Retrieval
  • Data Science


  • PhD in Cognitive Sciences, 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



Postdoctoral Research Scholar

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Sep 2021 – Present Nevada
What is misophonia and how is it expressed within the general population? My research here focuses on the development of misophonia and how it can be related to music and other auditory experiences, such as musical chills (frisson) and autonomous meridian response (ASMR).

Graduate Student Researcher - Social Media

UC Irvine Graduate Division

Jun 2019 – Aug 2021 California
Create content and marketing campaigns for the UC Irvine Graduate Division Social Media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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 – Jul 2021 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.



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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