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Course Information

Instructor Info:Neil Stillings
Office Extension x5513
Louisa Smith
Emma Opitz
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) ELH
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) ELH

This course is an introduction to the psychology and neuroscience of music. We will study the psychological and brain processes that underlie the perception and production of music, current theories about why and how music evokes emotion, and the evolutionary and developmental roots of the variation and commonalities of music across cultures and traditions. Students will be required to complete a series of short assignments and a final paper or project. (Final project was made optional when the course was expanded to 50 students.)

Evaluation Criteria:

Evaluation will be based primarily on the essay assignments during the course. Responses to forums and quizes on the course website will also be taken into account. You are expected to devote 6 hours per week outside of class to the reading and writing for this course. 

Additional Info:

The textbook for the course:

William Forde Thompson (2009). Music, Thought, & Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music. New York: Oxford University Press. Paperback.

Available in the Hampshire College Bookstore and on major bookselling websites.

There is a website of sound examples that goes with the book:


Hampshire has a detailed & strong policy on the ethics of scholarship & academic dishonesty

Students are responsible for knowing this policy, which can be reviewed at

Academic dishonesty can lead to disciplinary action, including expulsion from the college.