Skip to main content
25.07.2021 | טז אב התשפא

Music is Breaking Social Barriers

BIU social neuroscientist delivers TEDx talk

David Greenberg

Can music break social barriers? On Thursday, August 5, Dr. David M. Greenberg, a Zuckerman Postdoctoral Scholar at Bar-Ilan University's Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences and Department of Music presented a special TEDx talk about how music can break social barriers to transform society.

In his most recent study, published in the American Psychologist, Dr. Greenberg and his colleagues from Bar-Ilan University and the University of Chicago introduced a model of the brain that sheds light on the social functions and brain mechanisms that underlie the musical adaptations used for human connection. Fusing the latest advances in social neuroscience, musicology, and evolutionary theory, they highlighted five key functions and of the brain that contribute to social connection through music. The model is unique because it focuses on what happens in the brain when people make music together, rather than when they listen to music individually. Dr. Greenberg has been applying this model by studying a special ensemble called the Jerusalem Youth Chorus. Each week, the chorus brings together Arab and Jewish teenagers from East and West Jerusalem. They learn songs from each other’s cultures and engage in dialogue.

Dr. Greenberg is a musician, social neuroscientist, psychologist, and big data scientist. He researches how music can improve lives and societies around the world. To do this he uses a combination of methods including machine learning, brain studies, experiments in the wild, and clinical trials. His research is published in high impact journals including PNAS, Nature Communications, and the American Psychologist. His work is featured regularly in the media, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Discover Magazine, and The Atlantic.

Dr. Greenberg holds positions as a Zuckerman Scholar at Bar-Ilan University and as an honorary research associate at Cambridge University. He is the founder of Musical Universe, which is the largest public engagement platform for music and science. He has served as a scientific advisor to a number of companies including Spotify and National Geographic. As a musician, Dr. Greenberg went on his first tour at age 16, and he continues to perform today.

Dr. Greenberg is the founder of a new initiative called One World in Song where world-renounced musicians are joining forces with world-leading scientists to promote music in ways that can transform society and build a better future.  

The TEDx event was held from 5:00-9:00 pm on Thursday, August 5, at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. Among the additional seven personalities who spoke at the gathering was Israeli celebrity chef and culinary expert Yisrael Aharoni. Further information click here.