Director: Prof. Dr. Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann

Using a variety of methods, the Department of Music researches the processing, experiencing and evaluation of music, as well as behaviour during its reception.

Cognitive Neuropsychology

Director: Prof. Dr. Fredrik Ullén

The Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology investigates the neuropsychological mechanisms of musical expertise, skill learning and creativity, as well as relations between cultural engagement, well-being and health.


Research Groups

Histories of Music, Mind, and Body

Dr. Carmel Raz

The "Histories of Music, Mind, and Body" Research Group seeks to historicize specific philosophical, embodied, and medical understandings of the experience of music.


Computational Auditory Perception

Dr. Nori Jacoby

Focusing largely on the auditory modality, the "Computational Auditory Perception" Research Group explores the roles of experience and exposure in creating and affecting our perception of the world.

Neurocognition of Music and Language

PD Dr. Daniela Sammler

The Research Group “Neurocognition of Music and Language” explores perceptual, cognitive, and expressive similarities and differences between music and language, as well as their neural grounding and links with aesthetics.

Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Prof. Lucia Melloni, PhD

The Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition seeks to understand why some experiences feel the way they do (consciousness) and how such experiences are imprinted on our brain (learning and memory).

Project Teams

Visual Neuroaesthetics (VisNA) Lab

The VisNA Lab investigates the psychological and neural basis of aesthetic experiences, such as when a person is aesthetically “moved” by visual art, poetry, architecture, music, or natural landscapes.

Neural Computation for Sound and Recognition (NCSR) Lab

The NCSR Lab investigates the neural computations of auditory perception and recognition, as well as the plasticity of these processes. We focus on the role of brain rhythms for speech and music processing, how the processing interacts with the motor cortex, and how it is affected by training and individual experience. 

Externally Funded Research

Biological Anthropology of Literature (Heisenberg Position)

This research project is funded by the DFG’s Heisenberg Program. It investigates the phylogenetic preconditions of poetic behavior

PD Dr. Katja Mellmann

Apparent Motion (Department of Neuroscience)

This study focuses on why stimuli are perceived differently by the same participants, and how this ambiguity arises.


The Prosodic Syntax of German (Department of Language and Literature)

Prosody undisputedly affects the choice of syntactic constructions and the order of constituents within a sentence. However, for German, neither theories of grammar nor models of language production consider prosodic influences on sentence structure.


Focused Information (Music Department)

Information can be better perceived, processed, and maintained when it is prioritized. This focusing can unfold visually, through gaze, shifts of attention, or through memory. But how are these different forms of focus connected?


Reading Time Regularity (Department of Language and Literature)

This project is concerned with predicting text comprehension from statistical measurements of the reading process.


Creating an Academic Discipline (Music Department)

This project explores the simultaneous establishment of musicology and art history as academic disciplines at the University of Vienna, as part of an education reform undertaken by Leopold, Count von Thun und Hohenstein (1811–1888).


INHABIT // Artist-in-Residence

The INHABIT program fosters the exchange between artists and scientists and enables new and challenging perspectives towards the research at the institute. The new Artist-in-Residence program calls on artists interested in cooperating with scientists from the humanities and natural sciences who are active in aesthetics research.


Director: Prof. David Poeppel, PhD

The Department of Neuroscience under the direction of David Poeppel existed from 2014–2021. It worked on the neurobiology of hearing, language processing, and music, including the dimensions of aesthetic experience.

Research Group Neural and Environmental Rhythms

Research Group Leader: Molly Henry, PhD

The Research Group Neural and Environmental Rhythms existed from 2019–2024 and was led by Molly Henry. Researchers in the group took a dynamical systems approach to understanding brain–environment synchrony, conceptualizing and modeling brain rhythms as generated by neural oscillators.

Language and Literature

Director: Prof. Dr. Winfried Menninghaus

The Department of Language and Literature under the direction of Winfried Menninghaus existed from 2013–2022. It worked on the aesthetically relevant features and the aesthetic perception as well as the evaluation of linguistic utterances and texts, with a specific focus on literature.