Karen Barrett, PhD

Assistant Adjunct Professor
Institute for Health & Aging

Karen Chan Barrett, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Institute for Health & Aging at the UCSF School of Nursing and the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine. She is an Auditory Cognitive Neuroscientist, and her research interests include the neuroscience of artistic creativity, music perception in cochlear implant users, and music, aging, and health.

Dr. Barrett has also taught as collegiate faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, co-teaching a Music and the Brain class with Dr. Indre Viskontas (2019-2022). Before moving to San Francisco in the Spring of 2016, Dr. Barrett served as adjunct faculty at Peabody Institute of Music and Johns Hopkins University, teaching introductory music cognition seminars to graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Barrett received her Ph.D. in Music Theory and Cognition from Northwestern University in March 2015. Dr. Barrett's graduate work used perceptual and neural experiments (EEG) to study attention to complex multivoiced music as well as the impact of musical training on neural plasticity.


Cochlear Implant Compression Optimization for Musical Sound Quality in MED-EL Users.

Ear and hearing

Gilbert ML, Deroche MLD, Jiradejvong P, Chan Barrett K, Limb CJ

Multi-Voiced Music Bypasses Attentional Limitations in the Brain.

Frontiers in neuroscience

Barrett KC, Ashley R, Strait DL, Skoe E, Limb CJ, Kraus N

Perception of Child-Directed Versus Adult-Directed Emotional Speech in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users.

Ear and hearing

Barrett KC, Chatterjee M, Caldwell MT, Deroche MLD, Jiradejvong P, Kulkarni AM, Limb CJ

Impact of Auditory-Motor Musical Training on Melodic Pattern Recognition in Cochlear Implant Users.

Otology & neurotology : official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology

Chari DA, Barrett KC, Patel AD, Colgrove TR, Jiradejvong P, Jacobs LY, Limb CJ

Encyclopedia of Creativity. Volume 1. Runco, M. Pritzker, S. (Eds),

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and the Neural Correlates of Artistic Creative Production.

Chan Barrett, K., Limb, C.J.

Unveiling artistic minds: case studies of creativity.

Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences

Karen Chan Barrett, Charles J. Limb

Association Between Flat-Panel Computed Tomographic Imaging-Guided Place-Pitch Mapping and Speech and Pitch Perception in Cochlear Implant Users.

JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery

Jiam NT, Gilbert M, Cooke D, Jiradejvong P, Barrett K, Caldwell M, Limb CJ

A tonal-language benefit for pitch in normally-hearing and cochlear-implanted children.

Scientific reports

Deroche MLD, Lu HP, Kulkarni AM, Caldwell M, Barrett KC, Peng SC, Limb CJ, Lin YS, Chatterjee M

Musical Counterpoint: Attention and Perception

Musical Counterpoint: Attention and Perception

Karen Chan Barrett

Art and science: how musical training shapes the brain.

Frontiers in psychology

Barrett KC, Ashley R, Strait DL, Kraus N

Specialization among the specialized: auditory brainstem function is tuned in to timbre.

Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior

Strait DL, Chan K, Ashley R, Kraus N