Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Daniel J. Levitin

Daniel J. Levitin
Photo by Arsenio Coroa

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, is the James McGill Professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University—where he also teaches in the graduate school of business—and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs.

Levitin earned his B.A. in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science at Stanford University, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, researching complex auditory patterns and pattern processing in expert and non-expert populations. He completed post-doctoral training at Stanford University Medical School (in Neuroimaging) and at UC Berkeley (in Cognitive Psychology).

For ten years, Levitin worked as a session musician, commercial recording engineer, live sound engineer, and record producer for countless rock groups (including work with Santana, Narada Michael Walden, and The Grateful Dead), and also served as Vice President of A&R for 415/Columbia Records. Levitin has been awarded 17 gold and platinum records.

Levitin brings the full force of his experience as a consultant to companies as diverse as AT&T, Apple, Wells Fargo Bank, Sirius XM, and Philips Electronics, as well as every major record label. He has also consulted on audio sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, and worked for two years at Paul Allen’s Interval Research Corporation, a Silicon Valley computer firm where he worked on issues in Human-Computer Interaction, and Applications of Cognitive Psychology. He taught at Stanford University for 10 years, as a Lecturer in the Departments of Music, Anthropology, History of Science, Computer Science (Program on Human-Computer Interaction), and Psychology.

Levitin has written extensively, both in scientific journals and mainstream press, and has appeared frequently on national media, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox News Channel, PBS Newshour, various NPR shows, and The Discovery Channel.

Writers Festival Appearances