Dr Manuel Anglada-Tort

Staff details

Dr Manuel Anglada-Tort






m.angladatort (@gold.ac.uk)

I study how human cognition shapes culture and complex social behaviour, such as music and art.

I am a Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths and a visiting researcher in the Computational Auditory Perception Group at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics.

I am interested in understanding the psychological and cultural foundations of complex social behaviour such as music and aesthetics, and the role they play in human societies and cultural evolution. My research combines computational methods with innovative psychological experiments to study how such behaviours emerge through the interplay of human cognition, social interaction, and cultural transmission.

For example, see my research on how cultural transmission shapes the evolution of human song, read a recent study about the influence of weather conditions on music success in the UK, or check out REPP, a Python package to run high-precision synchronisation studies over the internet, such as tapping to the beat of music.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Cognitive Science (TUB, Germany) 2020
  • MSc in Music, Mind, and Brain (Goldsmiths, UK) 2015
  • BA in Psychology (URV, Spain) 2013

Research interests

I am interested in the following areas within cognitive science:

1. Studying human cognition through large-scale online experiments
Conducting research in the lab is both time-consuming and costly. A central goal in my research is to develop novel, open-access methods to enable psychology studies online that would be nearly impossible to conduct in the lab. For example, large-scale cross-cultural perception research, or social studies exploring interactions between thousands of participants within evolving social networks.

2. Cultural evolution and collective creativity
Cultural traditions, such as language and music, arise from complex cultural processes of human interaction and the transmission of knowledge from person to person. My work examines such processes by combining computational methods with cultural transmission experiments in complex production modalities, such as music and art. For example, I study how music changes over time as it is orally transmitted across participants, and how such dynamics are shaped by selection processes and underlying network structures.

3. Empirical aesthetics and the collective dynamics of popularity
I am interested on both the biological and cognitive foundations of sensory valuation and aesthetic experience, and how they contribute to collective dynamics of popularity in art. I study these processes experimentally in the lab, measuring aesthetic preferences in controlled settings, and in the real-world, using big data approaches from available datasets, such as Spotify and YouTube.

4. Auditory perception and cognition
I study how people from different backgrounds experience the auditory world and the impact of their mental representations on music behaviour. I am particularly interested in making auditory research more scalable and applicable across cultures. For example, I use production experiments, where participants engage directly with auditory stimuli through singing or tapping.