Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

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Barbara G Shinn-Cunningham
Alma materBrown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AwardsASA Silver Medal
Scientific career
Fieldsauditory neuroscience, auditory science, electrical engineering, cognitive neuroscience
InstitutionsCarnegie Mellon University Boston University
ThesisAdaptation to supernormal auditory localization cues in an auditory virtual environment (1994)
Doctoral advisorNathaniel I. Durlach

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham (born 1964) is Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Neuroscience Institute[1] and a Professor of Psychology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. Prior to moving to Carnegie Mellon, where she runs the Laboratory in Multisensory Neuroscience, she was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University (BU).[2] She attended Brown University as an undergraduate, where she earned an Sc.B. in Electrical Engineering. She earned both her master's degree[3] and Ph.D.[4] from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She worked at Bell Communications Research, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Sensimetrics[5] before joining the faculty at BU. She is an auditory neuroscientist best known for her work on attention and the cocktail party problem, sound localization, and the effects of room acoustics and reverberation on hearing.[6]

Her lab uses a range of techniques to understand neural coding and perception, including psychoacoustics, cortical electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography, brainstem frequency following responses, and computational modeling. She also collaborates with researchers conducting functional magnetic resonance imaging and neurophysiology. She is particularly interested in 'hidden hearing loss', the trouble people with otherwise normal hearing have in decoding overlapping conversations.[7]

She is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering[8][9] and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).[10] She has received fellowships from the Whitaker Foundation,[11] the Alfred P Sloan Foundation[12] and the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows program,[13] and the mentorship award from the Acoustical Society of America.[14] She is the eighth woman to receive any ASA Silver Medal and the first to receive the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal, which she was awarded in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, Speech Communication, and Architectural Acoustics "for contributions to understanding the perceptual, cognitive, and neural bases of speech perception in complex acoustic environments."[15] She has held leadership positions in numerous professional organizations, including as Vice President of the Acoustical Society of America[16] and Chair of the AUD NIH study section. She has also served on the editorial boards for various journals, including eLife, the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and Auditory Perception and Cognition. She is a Lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science.[17] She also serves or has served on numerous advisory panels in academia and beyond.[18][19]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Bharadwaj HM, S Verhulst, L Shaheen, MC Liberman, and BG Shinn-Cunningham (2014). "Cochlear neuropathy and the coding of supra-threshold sound," Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00026.
  • Ruggles D, H Bharadwaj, and BG Shinn-Cunningham (2011). "Normal hearing is not enough to guarantee robust encoding of suprathreshold features important in everyday communication", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 15516-15521.
  • Shinn-Cunningham, BG (2008). "Object-based auditory and visual attention," Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 182-186.
  • Shinn-Cunningham, B and V Best (2008). "Selective attention in normal and impaired hearing," Trends in Amplification [invited submission for special issue on Auditory Scene Analysis], 12, 283-299.


  1. ^ Carnegie Mellon University. "Barbara Shinn-Cunningham To Lead Carnegie Mellon's New Neuroscience Institute - News - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Barbara G. Shinn-Cunningham, Ph.D. » Biomedical Engineering | Boston University". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  3. ^ "Barton MIT Libraries' Catalog / M.S. Thesis B. G. Shinn-Cunningham". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Barton MIT Libraries' Catalog / PhD thesis B. G. Shinn-Cunningham". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Sensimetrics Corporation". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-03-08.
  6. ^ Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. "Barbara G. Shinn-Cunningham » Public Relations | Blog Archive | Boston University". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  7. ^ Berdik, Chris (September 29, 2016). "Tuning In". Boston University Research. Boston University. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Barbara Shinn-Cunningham". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  9. ^ "Four BME Faculty Elected as AIMBE Fellows » Materials Science Engineering | Blog Archive | Boston University". 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  10. ^ "Boston University HRC :: Barbara Shinn-Cunningham selected for Fellowship in Acoustical Society of America". 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  11. ^ "The Whitaker Foundation: 1999 Annual Report. Grants Awarded in 1999". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  12. ^ "Past Fellows". 2012-07-18. Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  13. ^ "DoD names engineering, science fellows for research program". EDN. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  14. ^ "Mentor Award". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  15. ^ Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G. (March 2019). "Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, Speech Communication, and Architectural Acoustics 2019: Barbara G. Shinn-Cunningham". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 145 (3): 1843–1846. doi:10.1121/1.5101687.
  16. ^ "Past and Present Officers and Members of the Executive Council | ASA". Archived from the original on 2017-05-23. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  17. ^ "Associates | | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert Advice". 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  18. ^ "Committee: Panel on Human Factors Science at the Army Research Laboratory". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  19. ^ "Hearing4all - Scientific Advisory Board". Retrieved 2014-06-12.

External links[edit]