Levitin hears the world in six songs

Session musician, commercial recording engineer, live sound engineer, record producer, bestselling author and psychologist Daniel Levitin visits the WUSTL campus Wednesday, Oct. 8, in Graham Chapel for the Assembly Series.

The lecture, originally slated for a 4 p.m. start on the Assembly Series calendar, has been moved up to an 11 a.m. start.


Levitin’s talk, “How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature,” will explore themes from his recently published second book, “The World in Six Songs.”

The book presents six categories in which he believes all songs with lyrics fit: songs of friendship, songs of joy, songs of comfort, songs of knowledge, religious songs and love songs.

Music, Levitin says, is the soundtrack of civilization. He says he feels as if it is a force that shaped us as a species and prepared us for the higher-order task of sharing complex communications with one another.

“This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession,” Levitin’s first book, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list.

Levitin earned his bachelor’s in cognitive psychology and cognitive science at Stanford University, and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Oregon.

He is an associate professor of psychology, behavioral neuroscience and music at McGill University in Montreal.