Dr Kelly Jakubowski
Associate Professor of Music Psychology
|Associate Professor of Music Psychology in the Department of Music|
Kelly Jakubowski is an Associate Professor in Music Psychology. Her research examines a range of topics within music psychology and empirical musicology, including memory for music, music-evoked autobiographical memory, musical imagery and imagination, earworms, absolute pitch, musical timing and movement, and cross-cultural music perception. Together with Professor Tuomas Eerola, she co-leads Durham’s Music and Science Lab, an interdisciplinary research group united by interests in empirical, computational, and biological approaches to understanding music listening and music making. She is Co-Director of Durham's Centre for Research into Inner Experience.
Kelly studied Music Performance (violin) and Music Theory for her undergraduate (Baldwin Wallace University, USA) and Masters degrees (Ohio State University, USA). She then pursued an MSc and PhD in music psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her PhD research (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) focused on developing new behavioural and computational methods for studying musical imagery and involuntary memory for music (including the phenomenon of having an “earworm”, or tune stuck in one’s head). In 2015, she was awarded the Hickman Early Career Researcher Award for her PhD research, which included a plenary session at the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM) conference in Manchester, UK. Subsequently, she held posts as a Teaching Fellow in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, Visiting Lecturer in Music at King’s College London, and Postdoctoral Research Associate in Music at Durham (AHRC-funded “Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance” project).
In 2018, Kelly was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for a 3-year project entitled “Prevalence, features, and retrieval of music-evoked autobiographical memories”. This project used multiple methodologies (online surveys, diary studies, experiments) for collecting a large and diverse dataset of lifetime memories triggered by listening to music, thus enabling a more systematic understanding of the conditions under which these memories occur and expanding theoretical accounts of the interactions between music, memory, and emotions.
From 2023-24 she was Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project "Accelerating embedded computational analysis of Web data about music in UK universities", which served to develop a new digital skills training programme (comprising workshops and online resources) for music researchers for working with Web data.
From 2024-2026, Kelly will be Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme Trust research project grant entitled "Using music to investigate perceptual and cognitive constraints on imagination". The aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive typology and unifying framework for music-evoked imaginings, underpinned by experiments testing how features of both the music and the listener constrain these imaginings.
Kelly currently serves on the Editorial Board for the journals Musicae Scientiae, Music & Science, and Empirical Musicology Review. She has previously served as Advisor to the Executive Committee of the SysMus conference series.
Kelly is committed to public research dissemination and engagement with non-academic audiences. Her work has been featured in a wide range of news outlets including The New York Times, the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The One Show, a BBC 4 documentary, and a range of national and international radio programmes. She regularly writes for outlets including Psychology Today and The Conversation.
- Music and memory
- Musical imagery
- Musical timing, rhythm, and movement
- Absolute pitch
- Cross-cultural music research
Chapter in book
- Jakubowski, K. (2022). Mental Imagery in Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories. In M. B. Küssner, G. Welch, L. Taruffi, I. Cross, G. A. Floridou, & A. Ockelford (Eds.), Music and Mental Imagery (137-146). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429330070
- Jakubowski, K. (2020). Musical Imagery. In A. Abraham (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination (187-206). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108580298
- Frieler, K., Jakubowski, K., & Mullensiefen, D. (2015). Is it the song and not the singer? Hit song prediction using structural features of melodies. In W. Auhagen, C. Bullerjahn, & R. von Georgi (Eds.), Yearbook of Music Psychology (Jahrbuch Musikpsychologie). Hogrefe. https://doi.org/10.1026/02734-000
- Williamson, V., & Jakubowski, K. (2014). Earworms. In W. Thompson (Ed.), Music in the Social and Behavioural Sciences. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452283012.n116
- Jakubowski, K., & Francini, E. (in press). Differential effects of familiarity and emotional expression of musical cues on autobiographical memory properties. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1177/17470218221129793
- Jakubowski, K., Belfi, A. M., Kvavilashvili, L., Ely, A., Gill, M., & Herbert, G. (in press). Comparing music‐ and food‐evoked autobiographical memories in young and older adults: A diary study. British Journal of Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12639
- Jakubowski, K., Walker, D., & Wang, H. (2023). Music cues impact the emotionality but not richness of episodic memory retrieval. Memory, https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2023.2256055
- Pearson, E., Graff, J., Bai, E., Jakubowski, K., & Belfi, A. M. (2023). Differences in autobiographical memories reported using text and voice during everyday life. Memory, 31(3), 393-405. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2022.2162084
- Jakubowski, K., Polak, R., Rocamora, M., Jure, L., & Jacoby, N. (2022). Aesthetics of musical timing: Culture and expertise affect preferences for isochrony but not synchrony. Cognition, 227, Article 105205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105205
- Jakubowski, K., & Eerola, T. (2022). Music evokes fewer but more positive autobiographical memories than emotionally matched sound and word cues. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 11(2), 272-288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2021.09.002
- Jakubowski, K., Belfi, A., & Eerola, T. (2021). Phenomenological Differences in Music- and Television-Evoked Autobiographical Memories. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 38(5), 435-455. https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2021.38.5.435
- Jakubowski, K., & Ghosh, A. (2021). Music-evoked autobiographical memories in everyday life. Psychology of Music, 49(3), 649-666. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735619888803
- Clayton, M., Tarsitani, S., Jankowsky, R., Jure, L., Leante, L., Polak, R., …Jakubowski, K. (2021). The Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance Data Collection. Empirical Musicology Review, 16(1), 65-84. https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v16i1.7555
- Clayton, M., Jakubowski, K., Eerola, T., Keller, P., Camurri, A., Volpe, G., & Alborno, P. (2020). Interpersonal entrainment in music performance: Theory, method and model. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 38(2), 136-194. https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2020.38.2.136
- Liikkanen, L., & Jakubowski, K. (2020). Involuntary musical imagery as a component of ordinary music cognition: A review of empirical evidence. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 27(6), 1195-1217. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-020-01750-7
- Jakubowski, K., Eerola, T., Tillmann, B., Perrin, F., & Heine, L. (2020). A Cross-Sectional Study of Reminiscence Bumps for Music-Related Memories in Adulthood. Music & Science, 3, https://doi.org/10.1177/2059204320965058
- Jakubowski, K., Eerola, T., Blackwood Ximenes, A., Ma, W., Clayton, M., & Keller, P. (2020). Multimodal perception of interpersonal synchrony: Evidence from global and continuous ratings of improvised musical duo performances. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain, 30(4), 159-177. https://doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000264
- Clayton, M., Jakubowski, K., & Eerola, T. (2019). Interpersonal entrainment in Indian instrumental music performance: Synchronization and movement coordination relate to tempo, dynamics, metrical and cadential structure. Musicae Scientiae, 23(3), 304-331. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864919844809
- Akkermans, J., Schapiro, R., Müllensiefen, D., Jakubowski, K., Shanahan, D., Baker, D., …Frieler, K. (2019). Decoding emotions in expressive music performances: A multi-lab replication and extension study. Cognition and Emotion, 33(6), 1099-1118. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1541312
- Jakubowski, K., Bashir, Z., Farrugia, N., & Stewart, L. (2018). Involuntary and voluntary recall of musical memories: A comparison of temporal accuracy and emotional responses. Memory and Cognition, 46(5), 741-756. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-018-0792-x
- Heaton, P., Tsang, W. F., Jakubowski, K., Mullensiefen, D., & Allen, R. (2018). Discriminating autism and language impairment and specific language impairment through acuity of musical imagery. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 80, 52-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2018.06.001
- Eerola, T., Jakubowski, K., Moran, N., Keller, P., & Clayton, M. (2018). Shared Periodic Performer Movements Coordinate Interactions in Duo Improvisations. Royal Society Open Science, 5(2), Article 171520. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171520
- Jakubowski, K. (2018). Commentary on Gruhn et al.'s "How Stable is Pitch Labeling Accuracy in Absolute Pitch Possessors?". Empirical Musicology Review, 13(3-4), https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v13i3-4.6597
- Jakubowski, K., Eerola, T., Alborno, P., Volpe, G., Camurri, A., & Clayton, M. (2017). Extracting Coarse Body Movements from Video in Music Performance: A Comparison of Automated Computer Vision Techniques with Motion Capture Data. Frontiers in digital humanities, 4, Article 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fdigh.2017.00009
- Jakubowski, K., Finkel, S., Stewart, L., & Müllensiefen, D. (2016). Dissecting an earworm: Melodic features and song popularity predict involuntary musical imagery. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3, 122-135. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000090
- Jakubowski, K., Mullensiefen, D., & Stewart, L. (2016). A development study of latent absolute pitch memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 434-443. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2015.1131726
- Jakubowski, K., Farrugia, N., & Stewart, L. (2016). Probing imagined tempo for music: Effects of motor engagement and musical experience. Psychology of Music, 44(6), 1274-1288. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735615625791
- Liikkanen, L., Jakubowski, K., & Toivanen, J. (2015). Catching earworms on Twitter: Using big data to study involuntary imagery. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 33(2), 199-216. https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2015.33.2.199
- Jakubowski, K., Farrugia, N., Halpern, A., Sankarpandi, S., & Stewart, L. (2015). The speed of our mental soundtracks: Tracking the tempo of involuntary musical imagery in everyday life. Memory and Cognition, 43(8), 1229-1242. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-015-0531-5
- Farrugia, N., Jakubowski, K., Cusack, R., & Stewart, L. (2015). Tunes stuck in your brain: The frequency and affective evaluation of involuntary musical imagery correlate with cortical structure. Consciousness and Cognition, 35, 66-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2015.04.020
- Jakubowski, K., Halpern, A., Grierson, M., & Stewart, L. (2015). The effect on exercise-induced arousal on preferred tempo for familiar melodies. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 22(2), 559-565. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0687-1
- Williamson, V., Liikkanen, L., Jakubowski, K., & Stewart, L. (2014). Sticky tunes: How do people react to involuntary musical imagery?. PLoS ONE, 9(1), Article e86170. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086170
- Frieler, K., Fischinger, T., Schlemmer, K., Lothwesen, K., Jakubowski, K., & Mullensiefen, D. (2013). Absolute memory for pitch: A comparative replication of Levitin's 1994 study in six European labs. Musicae Scientiae, 17(3), 334-349. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864913490633
- Frieler, K., Mullensiefen, D., Fischinger, T., Schlemmer, K., Jakubowski, K., & Lothwesen, K. (2013). Replication in music psychology. Musicae Scientiae, 17(3), 265-276. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864913495404
- Jakubowski, K., & Mullensiefen, D. (2013). The influence of music-elicited emotions and relative pitch on absolute pitch memory for familiar melodies. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(7), 1259-1267. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2013.803136