Oxford Seminar in the Psychology of Music: Landon Peck (University of Sheffield)

Free to attend, no registration required. 

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Meeting ID: 962 4550 6172
Passcode: 038339


Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Katie Rose Sanfilippo is unable to present the seminar on March 5th, but we hope to welcome her to a seminar next academic year. But we are delighted that Dr Landon Peck (former Oxford DPhil student, and now at the University of Sheffield) has agreed to present a seminar with the title “Investigations into the psychology of musical awe.” Do come to (or join online) what promises to be a fascinating seminar.



The experience of awe is one that we may all recognise: the feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired by a great force. Research from various disciplines has recently taken an interest in understanding and explaining this phenomenon through psychological frameworks, and this talk details some of the first steps taken to validate and expand these models as they relate to music, using empirical methods. Selected results from seven studies of musical awe will be presented, including investigations into participant accounts, experimental ratings for emotions and concepts, judgements of size through virtual object manipulation, and musical feature extraction. Taken together, these findings advance a general characterisation of musical awe as an emotional phenomenon comprised of two intertwined categories. The more common category is associated with positive emotions like joy and wonder, and the other is related to threat and fear. Both groups of musical awe show strong associations with ideas of size and power. Sonically, awe-related music, especially in the negatively-valenced group, can be characterised by high levels of brightness, roughness, and extensive changes in spectral qualities. This work expands the theoretical grounding for the production and occurrence of awe, and from these findings, a novel empirically derived model is presented that improves our understanding of the psychological mechanisms involved in experiences of musical awe.



Landon Peck is a research associate in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield. His research investigates various areas within music psychology, including the musically sublime and experiences of awe, cross-cultural musical emotions, music and environmentalism, immersion in video game music, and music-evoked autobiographical memory. Landon recently completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford and is the Chair of the International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology.


About the Series:

The Oxford Seminar in the Psychology of Music (OSPoM) features leading researchers presenting a wide variety of topics in the intersection between music and psychology. The Seminar is convened by Eric Clarke (University of Oxford). The seminars start at 5.15pm GMT, and last for 90 minutes – 45 minutes of presentation followed by 45 minutes of discussion. These seminars are open to all and are hosted in a hybrid format: join in person (in the Committee Room of the Oxford Faculty of Music) or remotely via Zoom.

Please visit our main series page for details about past and forthcoming seminars.