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Dr Tal-Chen Rabinowitch (Straussman)


Research Interests and Qualifications

I studied psychology and musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as performing arts at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (specialising in the flute). I have a master’s degree in music cognition from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which focused on theoretical aspects of emotional perception of music and on the links between music and empathy. I am currently completing my PhD at the Centre for Music and Science, under the joint supervision of Drs Ian Cross and Pamela Burnard. This work explores experimentally the effects of musical group interaction on children’s every day capacity for empathy, and in particular, the emotional impact of synchronisation during musical interaction. I am interested in uncovering the cognitive mechanisms and processes that underlie musical group interaction and their relevance to empathy.

I am also a flute player and currently perform with the Cambridge University Society for World Music.


Cambridge Overseas Trust scholarship
Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) award
Kenneth Lindsay Scholarship, Anglo-Israel Association
AVI Fellowships Grant

Departments and Institutes

Darwin College:

Key Publications

Rabinowitch, T., Cross, I., Burnard, P., (under review), Shall We Play Together? Synchronized and Asynchronized Musical Interactions are Associated with Opposing Emotional Valences.

Rabinowitch, T., Cross, I., Burnard, P., (under review), Long-Term Musical Group Interaction Has a Positive Influence on Empathy in Children.

Rabinowitch, T., Cross, I., Burnard, P., (invited; 2011, in press), Between Consciousnesses: Embodied Musical Intersubjectivity, in: Reynolds, D. and Reason, M. (Eds), Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices, Intellect Press.

Cross, I., Laurence, F., and Rabinowitch, T., (invited; 2012, in press), Empathic Creativity in Musical Group Practices, in McPherson, G. and Welch, G. (Eds), The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Oxford University Press.

Riek, L.D., Rabinowitch, T., Bremner, P., Pipe, A.G., Fraser, M., and Robinson, P., “Cooperative Gestures: Effective Signaling for Humanoid Robots“. In Proceedings of the 5th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Osaka, Japan, 2-5 March, 2010.

Riek, LD., Rabinowitch, T., Chakrabarti, B, & Robinson, P., How Anthropomorphism Affects Empathy Toward Robots, In Adjunct Proceedings of the 4th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction; San Diego, CA, 11-13 March, 2009.

Cross, I., Gill, S., Knight, S., Nash, C., Rabinowitch, T., Slobodian, L., Spiro, N., Woodruff, G., & Woolhouse, M. (2008). Commentary on The Perception and Cognition of Time in Balinese Music, by Andrew Clay McGraw,Empirical Musicology Review, 3(2), 54-57.

Conferences and Presentations

The ‘Rubber Band’: Beyond Intersubjectivity in Musical Interaction (invited talk) at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts, University of Manchester, UK, 3 February, 2011.

From Shared Intentionality to Empathy in Children’s Musical Interaction (invited; oral presentation) at the ‘New Perspectives on Joint Action and Task Sharing’ young researcher’s workshop; Max Plank Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany, 8-9 September, 2010.

Musical Group Interaction in Children Can Promote Empathy Through Shared Cognitive Mechanisms (oral presentation) at the 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC11); University of Washington, Seattle, USA, 23-27 August, 2010.

Musical Group Interaction and Children’s Empathic Growth (oral presentation) at the 29th International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference; Beijing, China, 1-6 August, 2010.

Empathy Promoting Musical Components in Cognition and Education (oral presentation) in ‘Nature versus Culture’, Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM10), University of Sheffield, UK, 23-24 July, 2010.

Music and Empathy – a Mutual Cognitive Pathway? Colloquium Lecture, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, UK, 5 May, 2010.

Musical Group Interaction and Empathy – a Mutual Cognitive Pathway? (oral presentation) in Kinesthetic Empathy: Concepts and Contexts conference; The Watching Dance Project, University of Manchester, UK, 22-23 April, 2010.

Musical Interaction and Empathic Growth in Children (oral presentation) in Empirical Musicology II: Empirical Approaches to Performance conference; University of Leeds, UK, 25-26 March, 2010.

Harnessing Musical Group Interaction for the enhancement of empathy in children (poster presentation) at the Musical Development and Learning conference; Roehampton University, UK, 10-12 September, 2008.

Moving from Music to Empathy through Movement (poster presentation) at the Dance, Timing and Musical Gesture conference; University of Edinburgh, UK, 13-15 June, 2008.