• 148 Citations
  • 8 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


My primary position at Macquarie University is a post-doctoral researcher on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project investigating the social, psychological, and neurological implications of violent music. I am also Centre Manager: Research and Engagement of the Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise, and Training; Research Manager of the Music, Sound, and Performance Research Group; and Web Developer for the Department of Psychology. I'm interested in a range of topics associated with auditory perception and cognition, with special emphasis on using music as a tool to understand how we experience our auditory world.

Research interests

I began my academic career by conducting psychoacoustic research on loudness dynamics and affective responses to music (2010-2016). More recent work investigates auditory attention and motion perception in the context of spatial hearing; music and violence; psychosocial outcomes of harmonious and obsessive passion in music fans; and the neuroscience of creativity in the context of music performance.

Specific research interests include:

  • Auditory looming, attention, and spatial localisation
  • Social, psychological, and neurological implications of violent music
  • Psychosocial outcomes of harmonious and obsessive passion in music fans
  • The neuroscience of musical creativity
  • Real-time approaches to emotion and music
  • Modelling continuous loudness in response to musical dynamics



I currently guest lecture in the units 'Music, Mind, and Message', 'Perception' and 'Real-World Applications of Perception' at Macquarie University.

Research student supervision

Doctoral Student Projects
  • Passion and emotion in the production and consumption of violent music (2019-2022). PhD (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • Investigating potential positive and negative effects of violent music on its fans (2018-2021). PhD (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • A neuropsychological investigation of creativity in the context of musical improvisation (2017-2020). PhD (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • A systematic investigation of memory for melodies: How do musical features predict recognition performance? (2014-2017), PhD (Psychology), Co-supervisor
Masters Student Projects
  • Psychosocial outcomes of traditional music listening in young adult migrants (2019), Master of Research (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • Passion and emotion in the production and consumption of violent music (2018), Master of Research, Primary Supervisor
  • Regulating anger through music: Relationship between genre, preference, and emotion regulation strategies (2017-2018), Master of Clinical Psychology, Associate Supervisor
  • An investigation of empathy among fans and non-fans of violent music (2017), Master of Research (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • Measuring creativity in an improvised jazz context: A preliminary tDCS study (2016), Master of Research (Psychology), Co-supervisor
Undergraduate Honours Student Projects
  • How does music facilitate the emotional regulation of Type D individuals? (2019), Honours (Psychology), Co-supervisor
  • Investigating the role of violent music in activating aggressive cognitions (2017), Honours (Psychology), Primary Supervisor
  • Effects of acoustic intensity on sound-source localisation of environmental warning signals (2015), Honours (Psychology), Primary Supervisor
  • The salience of acoustic intensity and spectral complexity in auditory spatial localisation (2014), Honours (Psychology), Primary Supervisor

Research engagement

Authored Media Pieces and Interviews

Research Featured in the Media

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Research Outputs

Who enjoys listening to violent music and why?

Thompson, W. F., Geeves, A. M. & Olsen, K. N., Jul 2019, In : Psychology of Popular Media Culture. 8, 3, p. 218-232 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 11 Citations (Scopus)

    Listener expertise enhances intelligibility of vocalisations in Death Metal music

    Olsen, K. N., Thompson, W. F. & Giblin, I., Jun 2018, In : Music Perception. 35, 5, p. 527-539 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    110 Downloads (Pure)

    Intensity dynamics and loudness change: A review of methods and perceptual processes

    Olsen, K. N., 1 Dec 2014, In : Acoustics Australia. 42, 3, p. 159-165 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 8 Citations (Scopus)
  • 12 Citations (Scopus)

    Resilient memory for melodies: the number of intervening melodies does not influence novel melody recognition

    Herff, S., Olsen, K. & Dean, R., 1 May 2018, In : Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 71, 5, p. 1150– 1171 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)