Dr Victoria Williamson is an independent authority, scholar and consultant on the psychology of music; how music is processed by the brain and the ways music impacts on our minds and behaviours. She is author of ‘You Are The Music’ (Icon Books).

To date, she has published 30 peer reviewed research articles, 3 e-books, 4 book chapters, as well as numerous public facing articles, presentations to worldwide universities, festivals, medical professionals, public groups, radio and TV programmes, and schools.

Contact Vicky using this page

_P9U5014I completed my honours psychology degree at the University of York where I studied the effect of music in computer games and my MA in the Psychology of Music MA where I investigated music and driving behaviour. In 2004 I was awarded a Studentship to study musical memory, with Profs. Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch. My first postdoc was an ESRC Fellowship where I studied memory in congenital amusia (tone deafness).

I spent 2011 – 2013 working as a lecturer, researcher and course director on the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths, including as a Leverhulme Associate

1265114_10153252070705722_947052628_oFrom 2013 -2014 I was Visiting Professor of Performance Science at the Hochschule Luzern (Switzerland). It was a pleasure to work among the fine researchers at the Hochschule Luzern – Musik. Through to 2021 we worked on a Swiss National Science Foundation grant, looking at the role of critical review in the modern classical music market.

In September 2014 I was Visiting Fellow for the School of Advanced Study at the University of London and from 2014 to 2017, I was the Vice Chancellor’s Fellow for Music at the University of Sheffield (UK). In 2017 I was promoted to a full-time Lectureship in Music Psychology.

Music and Wellbeing-lowresIn 2015 I launched Music and Wellbeing at an event lead by Professor Lord Robert Winston and Nordoff Robbins. In that year I was also based at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, with Professor Betsy Marvin including a speaking tour, visiting Bucknell, Buffalo, Tufts, Northwestern and Cornell, amongst others.

I took maternity leave from May 2017 – July 2018 and March 2019 – April 2020, and enjoyed the early years of my children’s lives. This marked a turning point in my career/ life goals. From September 2020, I worked as an independent academic, conducting research and writing about music psychology and music wellness.

In 2022 I co-founded Audicin, a work productivity star-up company that aims to provide auditory soundtracks for nervous system regulation that boost work performance by effectively alleviating multiple wellbeing issues including stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Our aim is to become a medically registered device for music wellbeing provision across the EU and US. 

Personal: I trained in classical guitar although I enjoy learning all instruments. I spend my spare time cooking (I worked as a sous chef to pay for university), dancing (especially salsa. merengue and bachata), and reading biographies and travelogues. I love to travel (in normal times) and I aim to visit as much of the world as possible in my allotted time. I live in Barcelona (Spain) with my dear husband Oscar, my spirited Penelope (born May 2017) and my sweet Antony (born April 2019).

Penelope and Antony


V.Williamson You Are The Music. How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human

Peer reviewed papers (34)

  • G. Floridou, V. Williamson & L. Emerson (2018) Towards a new methodological approach: Testing a novel paradigm for covertly inducing and sampling different forms of spontaneous cognition. Consciousness and Cognition (IF = 1.62)
  • T. Trahan, S. Durrant, D. Mullensiefen, & V.Williamson (2018) The music that helps people sleep and the reasons they believe it works: A mixed methods analysis of online survey reports. PLOS ONE https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206531 (IF = 2.77)
  • A. Halpern, J. Talarico., N, Gouda., & V.Williamson (2018) Are musical autobiographical memories special? It ain’t necessarily so…Music Perception, 35 (5), 561-572) (IF = 1.75)
  • G. Floridou, V. Williamson & L. Stewart (2017). A novel indirect method for capturing involuntary musical imagery under varying cognitive load. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(11):2189-2199 (IF = 2.13)
  • Tamminen, K. Rastle, J. Darby, R. Lucas, V. Williamson (2017). The impact of music on learning novel spoken words. Memory, 25(1):107-121 (IF = 1.69)
  • E. Alessandri, V. Williamson, H. Eiholzer, A. Williamon (2016). A critical ear: Analysis of value judgements in reviews of Beethoven’ s piano sonata recordings. Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00391 (IF = 2.60)
  • E. Alessandri, V. Williamson, H. Eiholzer, A. Williamon (2016). A systematic method for mapping music critics’ judgements of recorded performances. Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science. 6:57. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00057 (IF = 2.60)
  • G. Floridou, V. Williamson, L. Stewart, & D. Müllensiefen (2015). Development and validation of the Involuntary Musical Imagery Scale (IMIS). Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain, 25 (1), 48 – 67
  • G. Weir, V. Williamson & D. Müllensiefen (2015). Voluntary but not involuntary music mental activity is associated with more accurate musical imagery. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain, 25 (1), 28 – 45
  • J. Chen, S. Kumar, V. Williamson, J. Scholz, T. Griffiths, & L. Stewart (2015). Detection of the arcuate fasciculus is dependent on the tractography algorithm. Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, 6:9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00009 (IF = 2.6)
  • N. Schaal, V. Williamson, M. Kelly, N. Muggleton & M. Bannisy (2015). Time-specific involvement of the left SMG during the retention of musical pitches. Cortex, 64, 310–317  (IF = 6.40)
  • N. Schaal., Krause, V., Lange, K., Banissy, M.J., Williamson, V, & Pollok, B (2015). Pitch Memory in Nonmusicians and Musicians: Revealing Functional Differences Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. Cerebral Cortex, 25(9), 2774-2782 (IF = 8.31)
  • V. Williamson & S. R. Jilka (2014). Experiencing earworms: An interview study of Involuntary Musical Imagery. Psychology of Music, 42 (5), 653 – 670 (IF = 1.57)
  • H.J. Kang & V. Williamson (2014) Background music can facilitate second language learning. Psychology of Music, 42 (5), 728 – 747 (IF = 1.57)
  • D. Müllensiefen, J. Fry, R. Jones, S. R. Jilka, L. Stewart & V. Williamson (2014) Individual differences in spontaneous involuntary musical imagery. Music Perception, 31(4), 323-335 (IF = 1.75)
  • V.Williamson, L.A. Liikkanen., K. Jakubowski., & L. Stewart (2014) Sticky Tunes: How do people react to involuntary musical imagery? PLOS ONE, 9(1): e86170 (IF = 3.53)
  • N. Schaal, V. Williamson, & M.J. Bannisy (2013) Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the supramarginal gyrus facilitates pitch memory. European Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 3513-3518 (IF = 3.67)
  • D. Omigie, M. Pearce, V. Williamson & L. Stewart (2013) Electrophysiological correlates of melodic processing in congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia, 51(9), 1749-62 (IF = 3.45)
  • N. Schaal, V. Williamson, & M.J. Bannisy (2013) P 35. Investigating a causal role of the supramarginal gyrus for pitch memory using transcranial direct current stimulation. Clinical Neurophysiology, 124 (10), e80-e81 (IF = 2.98)
  • V.Williamson, S. Jilka, J. Fry, S. Finkel, D. Müllensiefen & L. Stewart (2012) How do earworms start? Classifying the everyday circumstances of Involuntary Musical Imagery (Earworms). Psychology of Music, 40 (3), 259-284 (IF = 1.57)
  • V.Williamson, F.Liu, G.Peryer, M.Greierson, & L.Stewart (2012) Perception and action de-coupling in congenital amusia: Sensitivity to task demands. Neuropsychologia, 50(1), 172-180 (IF = 3.45)
  • V.Williamson, G. Cocchini & L.Stewart (2011) The relationship between pitch and space in congenital amusia. Brain and Cognition, 76 (1), 70-76 (IF = 2.82)
  • V. Williamson & L. Stewart (2010) Memory for pitch in congenital amusia: Beyond a fine-grained pitch perception problem. Memory, 18(6), 657-669 (IF = 2.09)
  • V. Williamson., T. Mitchell., G. Hitch., & A. Baddeley (2010) Musicians’ memory for language and music in conditions of irrelevant sound. Psychology of Music, 38(3), 331- 351 (IF = 1.57)
  • V. Williamson, C. McDonald, D. Deutsch, T. Griffiths & L. Stewart (2010) Faster decline of pitch memory over time in congenital amusia. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 6, 15-22
  • V. Williamson, A. Baddeley & G. Hitch (2010) Musicians’ and nonmusicians’ short-term memory for verbal and musical sequences: Comparing phonological similarity and pitch proximity. Memory and Cognition, 38(2), 163-175 (IF = 1.92)
  • N. Dibben & V. Williamson (2007). An exploratory survey of in-vehicle music listening. Psychology of Music, 35 (4), 571-589 (IF = 1.57)

Book chapters

  • K. Schulze, S. Koelsch & V.Williamson (2017) Auditory working memory: Shared for speech and music? In Springer Handbook for Systematic Musicology
  • V.Williamson & K. Jakubowski (2014) Earworms. In Thompson, W. F. (Ed.). (2014). Music in the social and behavioral sciences: An encyclopedia. (Vols. 1-2). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • V.Williamson & G. Floridou (2014) Episodic memory. In Thompson, W. F. (Ed.). (2014). Music in the social and behavioral sciences: An encyclopedia. (Vols. 1-2). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • V. Williamson & L. Stewart (2013) Congenital Amusia. In The Handbook of Pediatric Neurology (Eds. O. Dulac, H. Sarnat, M. Lassonde). Elsevier.

Conference papers

  • V. Williamson (2020) Music for everyday and extraordinary challenges to human wellbeing. Invited keynote at the Spanish Music Psychology Association Annual Conference (Talk)
  • V. Williamson & J. Tamminen (2016) The impact of music on learning and consolidation of novel words. Beyond Language Learning Workshop. Barcelona, Spain (Poster)
  • V. Williamson, M. South & D. Müllensiefen (2014) Sound quality enhances the music listening experience. Proceedings of ICMPC13-ASCOM 5 (Seoul: South Korea),
  • G. Floridou, V. Williamson & D. Müllensiefen (2012) Contracting earworms: The roles of personality and musicality. In E. Cambouropoulos, C, Tsougras, K. Mavromatis, K. Pastiadis (Eds) Proceedings of ICMPC-ESCOM 12 (Thessaloniki: Greece), 302-310
  • V. Williamson & D. Müllensiefen (2012) Earworms from three angles. In E. Cambouropoulos, C, Tsougras, K. Mavromatis, K. Pastiadis (Eds) Proceedings of ICMPC-ESCOM 12 (Thessaloniki: Greece), 1124-1133
  • H.J Kang & V. Williamson (2012) The effect of background music on second language learning. In E. Cambouropoulos, C, Tsougras, K. Mavromatis, K. Pastiadis (Eds) Proceedings of ICMPC-ESCOM 12 (Thessaloniki: Greece), 516-518
  • V. Williamson, A. Baddeley, & G. Hitch (2006) Music in the working memory model? In M. Baroni, A. R. Addessi, R. Caterina, M. Costa (Eds) Proceedings of ICMPC9 (Bologna: Italy), 1581-1590

Articles for non-specialist audiences

  • V.Williamson (2016) How listening to music could help you beat insomnia. The Conversation
  • V. Williamson (2016) Music psychology insights for music education. Music Teacher Magazine
  • V Williamson (2016) What the world sounds like to a musical genius like David Bowie or Brian Wilson. The Independent
  • V.Williamson (2016) Was musical memory the secret to Brian Wilson’s genius? The Guardian
  • V.Williamson (2014) Music Forum Notes. The Psychologist, 27 (5), 303 (IF = 0.41)
  • V.Williamson (2014) You Are The Music. Science Uncovered Magazine
  • V.Williamson (2013 onwards) Various music psychology blog article for NME magazine
  • Bauer, K., Müllensiefen, D. & Williamson, V. (2013). Examining earworms: The psychology of involuntary musical imagery, BIOspektrum [German].
  • R. Worth & V. Williamson (2012) Music to our ears. European Journal of Psychology, 8(2), 217-221 (IF = 0.8)
  • V. Williamson (2009) In search of the language of music. The Psychologist, 22 (12), 1022-1025 (IF = 0.41)
  • V. Williamson (2006) Thank you for the music. The Psychologist, 19 (12), 743 (IF = 0.41)