Michael Domjan, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Viola Player

The University of Texas at Austin

Ever wonder how B. F. Skinner might have taught a music master class or what psychological principles make children more enthusiastic about playing baseball than playing the violin? The Tertis-Pavlov Project addresses such questions in a series of educational videos that explore connections between music and psychology. The project is named after Lionel Tertis, a highly influential viola player, and Ivan Pavlov, one of the pioneers of the study of associative learning. Although Tertis and Pavlov lived around the same time, they probably never met or heard of one another. Michael Domjan became familiar with both of them through his studies of music and psychology.

Each video starts with a discussion of a topic in music and psychology, followed by a brief musical selection. Musical selections include “Meditation” by Thaïs, the Csárdás by Monti, Paganini’s “Perpetual Motion,” and various movements from the cello suites by J. S. Bach, all played on a Tertis viola.  

The videos are available on the Michael Domjan Channel on YouTube. The url is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt_DMROXrGYSJKEDqd5K1iw



MICHAEL DOMJAN is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, where he has been teaching courses in conditioning and learning since 1973. He is internationally recognized for his functional approach to Pavlovian conditioning. His research was recognized by a MERIT award by the National Institutes of Health and he served as President of the Pavlovian Society of North America. His book, The principles of learning and behavior, is now in  its 7th edition. Before becoming an experimental psychologist, Domjan studied at the Juilliard School of Music, where he acquired a Tertis viola. After 35-year hiatus, Domjan has gone back to playing the viola. In the Tertis/Pavlov project he explores connections between music and psychology from his unique personal and academic perspective. 

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