Dr Scott Bannister

Dr Scott Bannister


I joined the University of Leeds as Teaching Fellow in Music Psychology, in September 2021, and continued as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Cadenza project in July 2022, working with Professor Alinka Greasley.

I obtained my PhD from Durham University in 2020, before working in the area of research governance and ethics at the University of Manchester.

My doctoral thesis 'A Framework of Distinct Musical Chills: Theoretical, Causal, and Conceptual Evidence' (Durham University, 2020), explored the emotional experiences of musical chills (goosebumps, shivers, tingling), and suggested that chills experiences can be categorised into at least two types, that vary in terms of their subjective characteristics and evolutionary antecedents. Strong emotional experiences with music remain one of my key areas of focus and interest, and have recently started to investigate the social wellbeing benefits and social bonding aspects of listening to music, to understand what psychological mechanisms underlie experiences of music as a social ‘other’.

Research interests

My research interests primarily involve the strong emotional experiences that can occur when listening to music, and understanding what psychological processes or mechanisms underlie these experiences.

I have worked with musical chills responses as a framing perspective for understanding how music can cause strong emotions, but I am now exploring the associations between strong emotion, empathy and social bonding experiences whilst listening to music; this focusses on a foundational idea that music can behave as a social ‘other’, or temporarily replace real social contact or connection for listeners, often leading to emotional responses. This new avenue for research has important implications for social wellbeing and social connection for music listeners, and integrates work from music psychology, sociology, media psychology, cognition, biology and evolutionary psychology.

I am also interested in the link between emotion and pleasure, and the processes of the human brain that may underlie anticipation and experience of pleasure when listening to music. Furthermore, I am fascinated by neuroscientific approaches to understanding aesthetic experiences, exploring brain regions implicated in engaging with and enjoying aesthetic objects or media.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Music Psychology
  • MA Applied Psychology of Music
  • BA Music Technology