Music and Imagery

Study Group

Photo by Josep Molina Secall

Mission Statement

Our central aim is to provide a platform for those interested in studying music’s capacity to create a life in the mind—which may take many shapes in different situations and listeners—and the psychological and neurophysiological processes underlying this musical experience. Offering opportunities to discuss and exchange new ideas and research, we also hope to increase the impact for health, education, clinical practices and artistic performance.

Mental imagery experiences related to music may involve visual imagery (e.g., landscapes, friends, scenes of past events, colours, abstract shapes etc.), kinaesthetic imagery (images of one’s own body movement), tactile imagery (touch), gustatory imagery (taste), olfactory imagery (smell), somatic imagery (e.g., fatigue, hunger) and, of course, auditory or musical imagery (including so-called "earworms").

All of these experiences may occur during episodes of mind wandering or daydreaming, which take up a considerable part of our waking time and are often enhanced during music listening. On the other hand, music listening that is characterized by a narrowed and effortless-like focus of attention can give rise to states of complete absorption during which we forget ourselves and our surroundings and dive into musical worlds.

Many of these human experiences stimulated by music still await further investigation to shed light on their core mechanisms, emerging processes, and potential effects on our cognitive and affective systems.

This website aims to facilitate this interdisciplinary scholarly endeavour by focusing on key themes, reporting on relevant meetings, announcing upcoming activities, and sharing materials and resources.

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