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Kelly Jakubowski

Assistant Professor in Music Psychology, Durham University

Kelly Jakubowski is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow undertaking a project entitled ‘Prevalence, features, and retrieval of music-evoked autobiographical memories’. This research employs multiple methodologies for collecting a large and diverse dataset of lifetime memories triggered by listening to music, with the aims of gaining a more systematic understanding of the conditions under which these memories occur and expanding theoretical accounts of the interactions between music, memory, and emotions.

Kelly studied Music Performance (violin) and Music Theory for her undergraduate (Baldwin Wallace University, USA) and Masters degrees (Ohio State University, USA). She then pursued an MSc and PhD in music psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her PhD research (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) focused on developing new behavioural and computational methods for studying musical imagery and involuntary memory for music (including the phenomenon of having an “earworm”, or tune stuck in one’s head). She has also published research on absolute pitch, memory for musical pitch and tempo, and musical synchronisation and entrainment. In 2015, she was awarded the Hickman Early Career Researcher Award for her PhD research on temporal aspects of involuntary musical imagery, which included a plenary session talk at the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM) conference in Manchester, UK.

Previous academic posts include Postdoctoral Research Associate in Music at Durham (AHRC-funded ‘Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance’ project), Teaching Fellow in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Visiting Lecturer in Music at King’s College London.


  • 2018–present
    Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Durham University