Professor Lauren Stewart

Lauren is an expert on how music is represented in the mind and brain.

Staff details

Professor Lauren Stewart






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Lauren is Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths where she founded the MSc in Music Mind and Brain and co-leads a research group in this area. She has published widely on topics including learning and plasticity, congenital amusia, earworms and therapeutic aspects of music. She has been engaged in several citizen science and public engagement projects, including a Silent Disco earworm experiment at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, a live experiment on musical plagiarism at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre and an in depth discussion on the ‘Tingle Factor’ in music as part of Radio 3’s Wellcome Collection residency.

Grants and Awards

Lauren has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support her work including: British Academy, ESRC, MRC/AHRC, Leverhulme Trust and SEMPRE.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Lauren has been extensively involved in science communication for the interested non-specialist as well as public engagement and citizen science projects. Examples include:

• ‘Sound of Happy’ project with Dr Caspar Addymann and composer, Imogen Heap (with Cow and Gate baby club)
• ‘Strike your own Chord’ live experiment on musical plagiarism at the Science Museum’s DANA centre (with Dr Daniel Mullensiefen)
• Silent Disco at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry to empirically test theories about earworm occurrence in a real-world setting
• Involvement with a range of media presentations including BBC (radio, television, and online media), National Public Radio, Al-Jazeera and CNN.

Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Altenmüller, Eckart and Stewart, Lauren. 2020. Music Supported Therapy in Neurorehabilitation. In: Volker Dietz and Nicholas Ward, eds. Oxford Textbook of Neurorehabilitation (2nd Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198824954

Stewart, Lauren; Kriegstein von, Katharina; Dalla Bella, Simone; Warren, Jason D. and Griffiths, Timothy D.. 2008. Disorders of musical cognition. In: Susan Hallam; Ian Cross and Michael Thaut, eds. Oxford handbook of music psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 184-196. ISBN 978-0-19-929845-7

Stewart, Lauren. 2008. Music reading: a cognitive neuroscience approach. In: Tim Miles; John Westcombe and Diana Ditchfield, eds. Music and dyslexia: a positive approach. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 162-170. ISBN 978-0-470-06557-0


Hashim, Sarah; Stewart, Lauren; Küssner, Mats B. and Omigie, Diana. 2023. Music listening evokes story-like visual imagery with both idiosyncratic and shared content. PLoS ONE, 18(10), e0293412. ISSN 1932-6203

Sanfilippo, K R M; McConnell, Bonnie; Darboe, Buba; Huma, Hajara B; Glover, Vivette and Stewart, Lauren. 2023. The experience of maternal mental distress in The Gambia: A qualitative study identifying idioms of distress, perceptions of contributing factors and the supporting role of existing cultural practices. PLOS Global Public Health, 3(9), e0002329. ISSN 2767-3375

Sanfilippo, K R M; Glover, Vivette; Cornelius, Victoria; Amiel Castro, Rita; McConnell, Bonnie; Darboe, Buba; Huma, HB; Ceesay, Hassoum; Ramchandani, Paul; Cross, Ian and Stewart, Lauren. 2023. Expression of antenatal symptoms of common mental disorders in The Gambia and the UK: a cross-sectional comparison study. BMJ Open, 13(7), e066807. ISSN 2044-6055

Conference or Workshop Item

Kirk, Pedro; Grierson, Mick; Bodak, Rebeka; Ward, Nick; Brander, Fran; Kelly, Kate; Newman, Nicholas and Stewart, Lauren. 2016. 'Motivating Stroke Rehabilitation Through Music: A Feasibility Study Using Digital Musical Instruments in the Home'. In: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. San Francisco, United States.

Finkel, S.; Jilka, S.; Williamson, Victoria J.; Stewart, Lauren and Müllensiefen, Daniel. 2010. 'Involuntary musical imagery: Investigating musical features that predict earworms'. In: Third International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology (SysMus10), University of Cambridge, UK. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Research Interests

Currently, Lauren is engaged in projects to explore

  • the relationship between infants' language development and the exposure to musical interactions in the home environment (with Drs Fabia Franco and NinaPolitimou, Middlesex University)
  • the extent to which stroke survivors can make use of real-time auditory feedback to guide efficient movement patterns (with PhD student, Pedro Douglass-Kirk)
  • the potential for community based group singing to support women's mental health in the perinatal period (an international collaboration based in The Gambia, funded by the MRC/AHRC (with PhD student Katie Rose Sanfilippo).