Tanushree Agrawal, PhD, is an Asst. Project Scientist and Psychology Lecturer at UC San Diego. As a member of the Mind & Development Lab, run by Dr. Adena Schachner, she studies social and emotional aspects of music perception. Tanushree is particularly interested in why music is able to evoke incredibly strong emotional responses in listeners, and how such feelings may be prosocial in nature.
Her current research program involves understanding: (1) Moral consequences of music: Why does music motivate prosocial behavior? Does witnessing others’ capacity to experience music lead us to believe that they are higher moral beings with a greater capacity for intelligence or emotion? (2) Aesthetic appreciation and its impact on interpersonal trait judgments: Do we make different inferences about those who are motivated by aesthetic beauty, for example by judging them as more intelligent/emotionally sensitive/compassionate than others. (3) Ecological approaches to cross-modal auditory perception: Humans can tell the temperature of water just from hearing the sound of it being poured! How do we extract such nuanced meaning from everyday sounds?
Tanushree brings a diverse set of prior experiences to bear on her research. Her unconventional academic journey began at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science and a Bachelor of Science in Economics. She then worked as an Investment Analyst at Citi Private Bank in New York, before switching careers and obtaining a Masters in Musicology from the University of Oxford, where she studied the relationship between music and empathy. Prior to UCSD, she was a visiting scholar in the Music Cognition Lab as well as the Working Memory Lab at Louisiana State University.
Agrawal, T., & Schachner, A. (2022). Hearing water temperature: Characterizing the development of nuanced perception of sound sources. Developmental Science, 00, e13321. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13321
Agrawal, T., Rottmann, J., & Schachner, A. (2022). How musicality changes moral consideration: People judge musical entities as more wrong to harm. Psychology of Music. https://doi.org/10.1177/03057356221096507
Agrawal, T., Shanahan, D., Huron, D., & Keller, H. (2021). Time-of-day Practices Echo Circadian Physiological Arousal: An Enculturated-Embodied Practice in Hindustani Classical Music. Musicae Scientiae. https://doi.org/10.1177/10298649211020053
Recent Honors & Awards
- National Society for Music Perception & Cognition, Executive Board Member 2021-23
- Anette Merle Smith Fellowship ($20k Tuition Award) San Diego, CA 2021-22
- Grammy Foundation ($20k Research Grant) San Diego, CA 2021-22
- UCSD CARTA Fellow ($20k Tuition Award) San Diego, CA 2020-21
- UCSD Institute for Practical Ethics Grant (unfunded due to Covid) San Diego, CA 2020
- 1st Place at UCSD Psychology Data Blitz Talks San Diego, CA 2018
- Norman Anderson Graduate Award for Incoming Students San Diego, CA 2017