Society for Music Perception and Cognition

About the Society for Music Perception and Cognition

Welcome to The Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC), a scholarly organization dedicated to the study of music cognition. Use our website to learn about this rapidly growing field, including information on researchers, conferences, and student opportunities. Join us as we explore one of the most fascinating aspects of being human.

May 2022

Statement from SMPC Board

Dear members of SMPC,

Last week we witnessed another hate crime carried out in the United States. On May 14th of 2022, a self-confessed white supremacist and antisemite carried out a planned attack in Buffalo, New York resulting in the deaths of ten victims and the injuring of three. The terrorist targeted a predominantly Black neighborhood and the majority of his victims were Black.

We again reaffirm our solidarity with the Black community, and again reaffirm our commitment to all marginalized people following this act of violence. We take this opportunity to remind our membership of the importance of condemning these acts in order to reemphasize where we as a community stand in times of mourning.

While the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC) is taking steps to create a more equitable and just community by directly addressing issues of race and equity over the past two years, we also realize that these efforts pale in comparison to the magnitude of loss and pain caused by these events.

The Anti-Racism and Equity Committee and Executive Board of SMPC

Statement from SMPC Board

Dear SMPC Community,

Black Lives Matter. We unequivocally stand with the Black community in the United States and condemn the racist violence perpetrated by police against black lives. We stand with those demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the hundreds of black people killed every year by police who do so with impunity. We are late to engaging with you on this, but today we want to be clear about where we stand.

There can be no equality in science until we as scientists work to be anti-racist every single day. We must acknowledge that this bias runs deep and commit to unlearning racism. We will work to create a plan of action to ensure that SMPC is an anti-racist organization, and we will be transparent about these efforts as they unfold.

SMPC Board

March 30, 2021

Statement from SMPC Board

Dear SMPC Community,

This month we have again witnessed horrendous, racist acts of violence. On March 16th of 2021, eight individuals, including six Asian women, were murdered by a white, domestic terrorist in the Greater Atlanta Area. 

These heinous acts of violence were undoubtedly motivated by white supremacy and represent some of the most aggressive and extreme acts of growing public aggression towards Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.  As reflected in the most recent demographics survey of our members,  AAPI individuals represent the largest non-white demographic within our society–a society that exists for the purpose of supporting and nurturing our growing intellectual community. 

We would like to reaffirm our solidarity with–and commitment to–any and all marginalized people. As discussed in the recent town hall held by the SMPC Anti-Racism and Equity Committee on March 8, 2021, we wish to foster a culture of respect and communication. This tragedy affirms the need for our community as a whole and for us as individuals to work to make anti-racist choices every day. We must not be silent on these issues and continue to build infrastructure to work towards a more anti-racist society. 

As a society, we recently established an Anti-Racism and Equity committee to address these issues. In addition to continually educating ourselves on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion, some new initiatives of this committee include drafting a code of conduct for our organization, establishing the new role of an Equity Officer for SMPC, and authoring a recent editorial in Music Perception on ways to ensure that our society and work promote anti-racist principles. We are currently soliciting nominations for positions on this committee and would welcome feedback and input from our members. 

These horrific events do not go unnoticed and the Society for Music Perception and Cognition pledges to support its Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander members in this time of mourning. 

SMPC Board

The Objectives of the Society

The Society for Music Perception and Cognition is a not-for-profit organization for researchers and others interested in music perception and cognition.

The objectives of SMPC are:

SMPC bylaws (click to open PDF):

  • to further the scientific and scholarly understanding of music from a broad range of disciplines, including music theory, psychology, psychophysics, linguistics, neurology, neurophysiology, ethology, ethnomusicology, artificial intelligence, computer technology, physics and engineering;
  • to facilitate cooperation among scholars and scientists who are engaged in research in this interdisciplinary field; and
  • to advance education and public understanding of knowledge gained.

Codes of Conduct:

SMPC is committed to promoting standards of ethics and professionalism, and as such has developed the following Code and Conduct Policies and Procedures (all links open a Google Doc link).


objectives of SMPC

The activities of the Society

The society host a biennial conference, providing opportunities for members of the research community to present new research in the area of music cognition. Past meetings have been held in a variety of cities, hosted by different institutions. In addition, SMPC cooperates with other organizations in music cognition to host international conferences.

The International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition (ICMPC), an associated international conference involving seven national societies is held on alternate years. The 16th ICMPC will be held in 2021 collaboratively by various hubs around the world, headed by the University of Sheffield (UK). Visit the conference website for more information.


objectives of SMPC

Meet the Society Officers and Board

Peter Pfordresher

President - Peter Pfordresher
(2023-2024; President-Elect 2022)

Peter Q. Pfordresher  (Ph.D. Ohio State, 2001) is Professor and in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York where he directs the Auditory Perception and Action Lab. His research focuses on the relationship between perception and action in the context of music, including the sensorimotor bases of poor-pitch singing, the role of auditory feedback in music performance, cognitive mechanisms for retrieval of music during performance, and the interplay between melody and rhythm during perception and production. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Grammy Museum Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the National Association for Research in Music Education. His books include Sound and Action in Music Performance (Academic Press, 2019) and Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance with Siu-Lan Tan and Rom Harré (3rd edition forthcoming).

Contact: president [a]

Psyche Loui

President-Elect - Psyche Loui
(2024; President 2025-2026)

Contact: president.elect [a]

Dominique Vuvan

Secretary - Dominique Vuvan
(2022-2024; At-Large Board Member 2019-2021)

Dominique Vuvan received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a certificate from the Program in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto in 2012. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the International Laboratory of Brain, Music, and Sound Research from 2012 to 2016. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Skidmore College. Professor Vuvan’s research focuses on the neurocognition of music, with particular interests in expectancy processing, language-music interaction, and individual differences.

Contact: secretary [a]

Dan Shanahan

Treasurer - Daniel Shanahan

Daniel Shanahan is an associate professor of Music Theory and Cognition at Northwestern University, and previously ran the Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Lab at Ohio State. He served as a member-at-large for the Society for Music Perception and Cognition from 2020–2023, and was the program co-chair of the 2022 conference in Portland. Daniel has served on the editorial boards for Music Theory Spectrum and Musicae Scientiae, among others, and served as co-editor of Empirical Musicology Review from 2016–2022. He has published widely on the topics of music and emotion, corpus studies, and musical communication.

Contact: treasurer [a]

At-Large Board Member - Laura Cirelli

Contact: mal [a] (emails all Members-at-Large)

Miriam Lense

At-Large Board Member - Miriam Lense

Miriam Lense is Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Marcus Autism Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. Her research and clinical work focuses on infants, children, and adults with or at-risk for developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. Her current research examines the development of rhythmic entrainment in the first years of life, relationships between rhythm and social communication/engagement, musical engagement experiences in individuals with and without developmental disorders, and relationships between music and sensory processing.

Contact: mal [a] (emails all Members-at-Large)

Grace Leslie

At-Large Board Member - Grace Leslie

Grace Leslie is Assistant Professor of Music at University of Colorado Boulder where she directs the Brain Music Lab. She is an electronic musician and music cognition researcher, committed to harnessing the expression granted by new music interfaces to better understand the link between music and emotion, with an ultimate goal of employing musical brain-computer interfaces to promote wellness.

She completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Affective Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab, received her PhD in Music & Cognitive Science from UCSD, and was also a Neukom Fellow at Dartmouth College. She continues to collaborate with the Epilepsy and Cognition Lab at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She has also worked on psychoacoustic research and interactive sound installation projects with the Espaces acoustiques et cognitifs team at Ircam in Paris, and Audio DSP and User Experience design projects for Sennheiser, Kyocera, and Motorola. She completed her undergraduate and Masters work in Music Technology at CCRMA, Stanford University.

Contact: mal [a] (emails all Members-at-Large)

Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden

At-Large Board Member - Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden

Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden is assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her research investigates the perceptual, cognitive, and neural foundations of human communication in development, in particular: music and language. She specializes on speech and song attention, music and language processing from infancy to adulthood, and the use of music for improving language processing. She directs the Language, Music, Attention, and Audition (LAMA) lab.

Contact: mal [a] (emails all Members-at-Large)

Ramesh Balasubramaniam

Equity Officer - Ramesh Balasubramaniam

Ramesh Balasubramaniam is Professor of Cognitive and Information sciences at the University of California, Merced where he serves as the Director of the Center for Human Adaptive Systems and Environments (CHASE). Much of his work has been in the area of rhythm processing and the ability that humans exhibit in synchronizing their actions to external auditory and visual events. In recent years, he has focused on the role of the motor system in music perception and cognition.

Contact: equity [a]

Media and Communications Chair - Amy Belfi

Amy Belfi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.A. in Psychology from St. Olaf College, her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa, and completed postdoctoral training at New York University. Her research focuses on a broad range of topics relating to music perception and cognition, including music and autobiographical memory, aesthetic judgments of music, conceptual representations of musical entities, and musical anhedonia

Contact: webmaster [a]

Stefanie Acevedo

Past Media and Communications Chair - Stefanie Acevedo
(2024; Media and Communications Chair 2021-2023)

Stefanie Acevedo is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Connecticut. Her main research interests include musical expectation, the analysis and cognition of musical form, cognitive underpinnings for musical categorization and segmentation, and pedagogical applications of cognitive/psychological research. She holds degrees in music composition (B.M. - University of Florida), psychology (M.A. - University at Buffalo), and music theory (M.M. - Bowling Green State University and Ph.D. - Yale University). Visit her website. 

Chihiro Honda

Trainee Member - Chihiro Honda

Chihiro Honda is a PhD student in Cognitive Psychology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, where she is a member of the Auditory Perception and Action Lab (APAL). She studies music and language perception and production, and she is particularly interested in how these two domains overlap. Her current research examines the effects of musical and language backgrounds on behavioral performance (e.g., pitch imitation) as well as brain activities. Her main research goal is to understand the mechanisms involved in auditory processing in both music and language domains and the transfer of pitch processing ability from one domain to another. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a master’s degree in Psychology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Visit her website.

Contact: traineerep [a] (emails both Trainee Reps)

Natalie Miller

Trainee Member - Natalie Miller

Natalie Miller is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Princeton University, where she specializes in the intersection of music theory, music cognition, and media studies. Her research investigates music’s role in guiding attention in multimedia, specifically how music influences a person’s ability to become immersed in a given experience. Her dissertation combines theoretical and behavioral empirical methodologies to shed light on these questions and better understand music’s role in multimedia. Natalie works in the Music Cognition Lab at Princeton University and serves as the founder and director of Princeton’s Music Mentoring Program, connecting trained graduate mentors in Composition and Musicology to music-affiliated undergraduate students. She completed undergraduate degrees in Music and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Contact: traineerep [a] (emails both Trainee Reps)


Society Committees 

SMPC's committees aid in carrying out the regular business of the organization.
More information can be found here.


objectives of SMPC

SMPC Awards

Visit our awards page


Past Presidents

History of SMPC Board

Visit our Board History Page