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Centre for Music and Science



MSc, Cognitive Science and Natural Language, University of Edinburgh
PhD, Music Psychology, Co-supervised by Prof Rens Bod, University of Amsterdam & Dr Ian Cross, University of Cambridge

Research Interests
Phrase perception
Perception of music in different population types:
Perception of Music in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Aphasia and Music Therapy
Dementia and Music

Two questions underlie my research: What is the potential role of music in peoples’ health and wellbeing, and what is communicated when we make music together? My research on these questions has been from three perspectives: investigations of people’s reported experiences of music making, effects on people’s judgements, and analysis of interaction in music.

My current research includes the Health, Economic, and Social impact of the ARTs (HEartS) project, which explores the impact of arts and culture on health and wellbeing from individual, social, and economic perspectives. I am investigating the range of relationships that people can have with music and is exploring the possible levels of shared understanding across a variety of forms of music making.

My teaching includes music, health, and wellbeing topics as well as areas of music psychology.



Key publications: 
  • Spiro, N. and Schober, M.F. (2014). Perspectives on Music and Communication:  An Introduction, Psychology of Music, 42(6), pp. 771-775.
  • Schober, M.F., & Spiro, N. (2014). Jazz improvisers’ shared understanding: A case study.  Frontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 5(808).
  • Tsiris, G., Spiro, N., Pavlicevic, M. (2014). What does the past tell us? A content analysis of the first quarter century of the British Journal of Music Therapy, British Journal of Music Therapy 28(1), pp. 4-24.
  • Spiro, N., Tsiris, G., & Pavlicevic, M. (2014). Music Therapy Models. In B. Thompson & G. Golson (Eds.), Music in the Social and Behavioural Sciences: An Encyclopaedia (pp. 771-773). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Rink J., Spiro, N. and Gold, N. (2011). Motive, gesture, and the analysis of performance. In A. Gritten and E. King (Eds.), Music and Gesture 2 (pp. 267-92). Aldershot: Ashgate. 
  • Spiro, N., Rink J., and Gold, N. (2010). The Form of Performance: Analyzing Pattern Distribution in Select Recordings of Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 24 No. 2, Musicae Scientiae, 14(2), 23-55.
  • Spiro, N. (2010). Dementia and Music Therapy: Observing effects and searching for underlying theories. Aging and Mental Health, 14(8), 891-899.
  • 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.
Research Fellow in Performance Science, Royal College of Music
Supervisor at and Member of the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
Not available for consultancy