1) Would you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you study?
I am an experimental psychology PhD candidate at UC San Diego studying misophonia under Dr. V.S. Ramachandran and music cognition (specifically absolute pitch) under Dr. Diana Deutsch. In 2011, I received my BA in psychology and music from UC Berkeley. Additionally, I’ve been a violinist since I was 5 years old, so when I’m not conducting research, I can be found performing around southern California in orchestras, chamber groups, bands and theatrical productions.
2) How did you get interested in Misophonia?
Back in 2011 (my first year of graduate school), my advisor Dr. Ramachandran received an email from a member of a misophonia support group inquiring if we could begin some research on the condition. At the time, nobody had heard of misophonia so we decided to invite a few members of the support group to the lab for preliminary interviews and testing. To an extent, I felt like I could relate to some of the negative feelings experienced by these individuals – because who loves the sound of somebody loudly chewing gum or clicking their pen in class? For the most part, these are sounds that most people would consider to be annoying and I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first as to whether this phenomenon was an actual condition or whether these individuals were simply more vocal about their issues with certain sounds. However, after talking to a few individuals and understanding the toll that misophonia took on the quality of their lives, I realized that it was definitely worth looking into further. Ultimately, it was the severity of their reactions paired with a lack of experimental research that inspired us to conduct our first research study.