PSY4313 – Music Cognition

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This module focuses on the cognitive psychology and neuroscience of music; a fundamental and universal human trait. The main theoretical directions in the field will be introduced and evaluated through empirical evidence gathered using a variety of methods, including neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, computational modelling, effects of localized brain lesions (e.g., cases of amusia), and evidence from comparative psychology. The lectures will cover the processes of auditory attention and perception (of pitch, rhythm, and tonality), musical imagery and memory, prediction and anticipation, musical training and brain plasticity, cross-modal perception, embodied and social cognition, and peak emotional experiences with music. These topics will be approached both in terms of the cognitive processes involved as well as the functions and potential evolutionary basis of human music-making.

Learning outcome

The aim of this course is to introduce students to

  • the cognitive processes involved in various musical activities
  • how the human mind/brain achieves the understanding, making, and appreciation of music; an illuminating example of multi-level human cognition, motor control and executive function
  • how studying cognition in the musical domain can inform us about the functioning of our brains more generally


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


7 lectures á 2h, plus 3 seminars (with student presentations) á 2h.


The exam consists of two elements: 

  • a group presentation based on 2-3 published studies (a range of topics & studies will be provided)
  • an individual reflection note based on the topic of the presentation (1000-1500 words)

Both exams will be graded.

Previous exams

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals


The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published in Studentweb. 

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks adter you have requested it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given orally or in writing. 

Request an explanation of your grade in this course. 

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language