Texas Tech University

Performing Arts Research Lab

PeARL Open House 1Performing Arts Research Lab Open HousePerforming Arts Research Lab Open HousePerforming Arts Research Lab Logo


Dr. David SearsDr. David Sears

Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts

J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts


Dr. Peter A. MartensDr. Peter A. Martens

Associate Professor of Music Theory


School of Music

The Performing Arts Research Lab (PeARL) uses a combination of interdisciplinary experimental and computational methods to address fundamental questions about the composition, performance, and reception of music, theatre and dance, and the visual arts. We focus primarily on learning and memory for musical organization, the formation of expectations, and emotion and empirical aesthetics. The lab employs methods from psychophysics, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, corpus linguistics, information retrieval, systematic musicology, and music theory and analysis.

The Performing Arts Research Laboratory is housed in the School of Music at the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts at Texas Tech University.

Recent Publications

Sears (In press). String-based methods for tonal harmony. Oxford handbook of music & corpus studies.

Sears, Pearce, Spitzer, Caplin & McAdams (In press). Expectations for tonal cadences: Sensory and cognitive priming effects. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Sears, Spitzer, Caplin, & McAdams (In press). Expecting the end: Continuous expectancy ratings for tonal cadences. Psychology of Music. 

Marten (2018). Instructor's manual for The Musician's Guide to Music Fundamentals, 3rd ed. The Musician's Guide to Music Fundamentals.

Sears, Pearce, Caplin, & McAdams (2018). Simulating melodic and harmonic expectations for tonal cadences using probabilistic models. Journal of New Music Research.

Ogg, Sears, Marin, & McAdams (2017). Psychophysiological indices of music-evoked emotions in musicians. Music Perception.

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News Flashes

The PeARL presented 5 papers at the recent International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) in Montreal, Canada and Graz, Austria. Congrats to Lucas Hess, Dr. Peter Martens, Hannah Percival, and Dr. David Sears!

Ogg, Sears, Marin & McAdams (2017) has been selected for a special open-access "virtual issue" of the journal Music Perception on Emotion and Music.

PeARL Lab Open House May 8th