Psychology 138: Sound and Music Perception Syllabus

Syllabus for PSYC 138: Sound and Music Perception, UCSD Fall 2013
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 PM -4:50 PM in Center Hall 222
Office hours: Tuesdays 1:30 PM – 3:20 PM in McGill 2109 and after class by appointment
Instructor: Kevin Dooley
Email: [email protected]
Class web page:
In this course we will explore facts, theories, and questions in the field of music psychology,
starting with basic aspects of perception and psychoacoustics, then building up to such complex
and unresolved topics as the applications, emotional effects, and origins of music. In parallel, the
class will progress from lectures and sound demos to include more student discussions,
presentations, and musical excerpts, so be prepared to participate often! Some basic experience
or training in music is assumed; interest and curiosity are a must.
Schedule (subject to change)
10/1, 10/3
Pitch/Timbre/Harmony, Music & Brain
10/8, 10/10
Grouping Mechanisms & Illusions
10/15, 10/17 Test 1 (includes readings 1- 3), special topics
10/22, 10/24 Pitch Memory, AP, Earworms
10/29, 10/31 Music & Language
11/5, 11/7
Music & Emotion
11/12, 11/14 Test 2 (includes readings 4-6), special topics
11/19, 11/21 Social psychology of music, Origins of Music
Music Therapy, Thanksgiving: no class 11/28
12/3, 12/5
Presentation 2, review
Monday, 3 PM Final (cumulative)!
100 Points (90-100= A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, ≤59=F)
2 Tests (multiple choice, scantron)- 20 points each
2 Presentations- 15 points each
1 Cumulative Final- 30 points (essay questions)
Up to 3 points extra credit for participation in Sona:
Occasional opportunities for extra credit in class
Consistent participation in class will help borderline grades!
Required Reading
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Weekly article (links for each reading on website)
Presentation 1: Related research article of your choice
*Other short readings may be announced in class*
Suggested additional resources
The Psychology of Music, 3rd edition, by Diana Deutsch
Musical Illusions and Paradoxes and Phantom Words, and Other Curiosities, by Diana Deutsch
See website for links to other resources
PSYC 138 Presentation Guidelines
Presentation 1: With a partner, choose any research article detailing a study relating to
music psychology and discuss the article with the class. In 10 minutes or less, summarize
the question, purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of the study. Most importantly,
include your response & critique; was the study convincing and well designed? If not,
what should be done differently, or if so, what can we learn from the findings and how
can we apply them? What follow-up studies would you suggest? Have at least one
question to ask the audience. Some typical journal sources include specialty publications
like Music Perception and Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and mainstream
publications like Science and Nature. For a more extensive list, see:
Presentation Dates: 10/22, 10/24, 10/29, 10/31, 11/5, 11/7, 11/14, 11/19, 11/21, 11/26
(see sign up sheet to choose your date). Worth 10 points.
Presentation 2: Working in groups of 4, conduct an informal study to answer an
experimental question of your choice. Choose a topic that you find interesting and that is
reasonably manageable to test and collect data for. Typically, anywhere from 10 to 20
subjects will suffice, depending on the nature of your question. Please meet with me to
confirm topic and for advice & suggestions!
In less than 10 minutes, describe your project to the class:
-intro & hypothesis (what’s the question, what do you expect to find & why),
-methods (subjects, materials, procedure, independent & dependent variables),
-results (may be null but must be real; statistical analyses welcome but not required),
-conclusions (critical thinking: why did you get these results and what do they mean?),
-future directions (anything you would do differently? ideas for follow-up studies?)
Each group will present on 12/3 or 12/5. At the beginning of class that day, turn in
only a hard copy of your abstract: a brief summary (about 200 words) of the key
information about your study (1 per group). Worth 20 points.
General info: How you present is up to you; feel free to use powerpoint, lecture, posters,
videos, or interpretive dance. Focus on clarity, content, and audience engagement.