Music psychologist Dr Daniel Müllensiefen – an expert in earworms, musical ability, and music memory – has been named as one of six international scholars to receive a prestigious €250,000 Anneliese Maier Research Award.
Each year the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation selects six outstanding international humanities scholars and social scientists to receive funding for collaborations with researchers in Germany.
The award is designed to finance research collaborations over a period of up to five years with specialist colleagues. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it seeks to promote the internationalisation of the humanities and social sciences in Germany.
The six award winners were selected from a total of 79 nominees from 23 countries, with most based in the US or UK.
In 2014, director of the MSc Music, Mind and Brain, Dr Müllensiefen, published the Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index (Gold-MSI), a tool for measuring musicality that immediately established a place for itself in the portfolio of empirical music research. Exactly how it functions was demonstrated in a major test run by the BBC involving 190,000 people.
Dr Müllensiefen’s work on the computer-assisted detection of musical plagiarism, and his research on the causes and consequences of “earworms” - tunes that get stuck in your brain - has received international interest and media coverage.
After finishing university, German-born Daniel Müllensiefen, started working as a project manager in the music business, managing, among other things, the development of the German music industry’s web search engine. At the same time, he took a doctorate in Hamburg.
In 2006, he became a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, later joining the Department of Psychology where he became a Reader in 2015. Dr Müllensiefen is a member of the German Society for Music Psychology, the Royal Statistical Society and the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences and has already received a number of honours such as the Goldsmiths Early Career Development Award.
He acts as an expert witness for music publishers and law firms, and is the editor of the open-access journal Empirical Musicology Review.
Dr Müllensiefen will now continue developing the Gold-MSI in co-operation with colleagues at the Hanover University of Music and Drama in order to investigate the development of musical competence from childhood to adulthood.
Find out more about this year’s Anneliese Maier Research Award winners on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation website.
Find out more about the MSc Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths.