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Centre for Music and Science



Academic qualifications

Ph.D, University of Cambridge, 2013
B.A. (Music), University of Cambridge, 2004-7
M.Phil (Musicology), University of Cambridge, 2007-8

About my work

My doctoral research explored the implications of entrainment-inducing stimuli and behaviours for social judgement-making and interaction. Within this topic, I am focusing on two main issues. One is the ability of entrainment-inducing behaviours to promote trust between individuals through providing temporal predictability and engendering social bonding. The second is the role of speech rhythm in persuasive oratory, and in particular its ability to increase persuasiveness through providing a locus for listener entrainment and thus promoting positive social judgements about the speaker.
In addition to my doctoral studies I supervised a number of undergraduate modules for the B.A. Music degree, including supervising undergraduate research projects.
I was also the student representative on the committee of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE).


Domestic Research Studentship (Selwyn College), University of Cambridge

Current position

My research at QMUL focuses on the perception and cognition of speech and music, with a particular interest in persuasion and communication.


Key publications: 


Heinrich, A., Knight, S., & Hawkins, S. (2015). Influences of word predictability and type of masker noise on intelligibility of sung text in live concerts. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(4), 2373-2386.

Hawkins, S., Honey, K., Knight, S., & Heinrich, A. (2015). Intelligibility of sung words in polytextual settings. In T. S. C. f. I. 2015 (Ed.), International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Glasgow (Vol. Paper number 1038 pp. 1-5). Glasgow University.

Knight, S., Spiro, N., & Cross, I. (2016). Look, listen and learn: Exploring effects of passive entrainment on social judgements of observed others. Psychology of Music, Online First, 1-17.

Knight, S., Lavan, N., Kanber, E., & McGettigan, C. (2018). The social code of speech prosody must be specific and generalizable. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, E6103-E6103.

Lavan, N., Burston, L. F., Ladwa, P., Merriman, S. E., Knight, S., & McGettigan, C. (2019). Breaking voice identity perception: Expressive voices are more confusable for listeners. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of York
PhD student, 2009-13
Dr Sarah  Knight
Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: