Advisory Board

Professor Sohee Park

The ScienceDaily article Musicians Use Both Sides Of Their Brains More Frequently Than Average People said

Supporting what many of us who are not musically talented have often felt, new research reveals that trained musicians really do think differently than the rest of us. Vanderbilt University psychologists have found that professionally trained musicians more effectively use a creative technique called divergent thinking, and also use both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average person.
The research by Crystal Gibson, Bradley Folley and Sohee Park is currently in press at the journal Brain and Cognition.
The researchers also found that, overall, the musicians had higher IQ scores than the non-musicians, supporting recent studies that intensive musical training is associated with an elevated IQ score.

Sohee Park, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and a member of the Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University.
Sohee’s research program lies at the intersection between biological psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience with developmental and behavior genetics components. Her broad research goals are to specify and understand neurobiological bases of psychoses and in doing so, to further elucidate neural underpinnings of normal cognitive processes.
She is focused on understanding the nature of cognitive deficits of schizophrenia (e.g. deficits in working memory, attention, oculomotor control) to elucidate the relationships among behavioral signs, brain abnormalities, and psychotic symptoms.
Sohee works with observable and quantifiable behaviors that can clearly differentiate patients with schizophrenia from healthy people and she tries to understand the neural origins and behavioral consequences of these differences. Her earlier studies of working memory deficit in schizophrenia have played a significant role in establishing cognitive symptoms as core features of schizophrenia.
These investigations led to a deep interest in identifying components and etiology of core cognitive symptoms and associated endophenotypic markers of schizophrenia. Better understanding of cardinal features of schizophrenia should lead to more effective pharmacological and behavioral treatments. Moreover, specification of behavioral markers may help her detect neurocognitive precursors of psychosis in young people at high-risk, which should be very useful for developing effective intervention strategies.
Sohee coauthored Social Cognition in Schizophrenia: An NIMH Workshop on Definitions, Assessment, and Research Opportunities, Affect processing and positive syndrome schizotypy in cannabis users: A P3 study, Attentional window in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality: Insight from negative priming studies, Schizophrenia involves impairment in the activation of intentions by counterfactual thinking, Effect of buspirone, a serotonin 1A partial agonist, on cognitive function in schizophrenia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, and Olfaction and higher cognitive functions. Read the full list of her publications!
Sohee earned her B.A. in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK, her M.A. in Psychology at Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Psychology at Harvard University in 1991 with the thesis “The role of prefrontal cortex in spatial working memory deficits of schizophrenic patients”. She did her postdoc work at Harvard University and University Hospital Zürich.
Read Brain images show schizophrenic’s memory usage differs and Odd behavior may lead to creativity.