PD Dr. habil. Julia Merrill

Research Focus

  • music and speech cognition and emotion
  • song and speech perception
  • vocal expression, voice aesthetics


Academic Education

07/2018Habilitation in Musicology, University of Kassel
04/2013PhD (summa cum laude) in Cognitive Science, University of Potsdam, Germany
05/2010Diploma in Speech Science, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
10/2004Diploma in Church Music, Hochschule für Kirchenmusik, Heidelberg, Germany




Substitute/Guest Professor (W3), Department of Speech Science and Phonetics, University of Halle, Germany
Since 2014Senior Research Fellow, Music Department, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Systematic Musicology, Institute of Music, University of Kassel, Germany
2013–2014Lecturer for Speech Science and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Speech Science and Phonetics, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
2008–2013PhD student and researcher, Department of Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany


Merrill, J., Czepiel, A., Fink, L. T., Toelle, J., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2021). The Aesthetic Experience of Live Concerts: Self-Reports and Psychophysiology. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. doi.org/10.1037/aca0000390

Merrill, J., & Ackermann, T. (2020). “Like static noise in a beautiful landscape”: A mixed-methods approach to rationales and features of disliked voices in popular music (Advance online publication).Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000376.

Merrill, J., Omigie, D., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2020). Locus of emotion influences psychophysiological reactions to music. Plos Onse, 15 (8), e0237641. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.023764

Merrill, J. (2019): Stimmen – schön schrecklich oder schrecklich schön? Beschreibung, Bewertung und Wirkung des vokalen Ausdrucks in der Musik. Kassel University Press, Kassel. https://www.upress.uni-kassel.de/katalog/abstract.php?978-3-7376-5087-8 

Merrill, J. & Larrouy-Maestri, P. (2017). Vocal Features of Song and Speech. Insights from Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. In Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1-11. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01108/full

Merrill, J. (2017). Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire Revisited. Acceptance of Vocal Expression. Acta Musicologica, 89(1), 95–117.

Merrill, J., Bangert, M., Sammler, D., Friederici, A. D. (2016):Classifying Song and Speech – Effects of Focal Temporal Lobe Lesions and Musical Disorder. In Neurocase. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13554794.2016.1237660

Merrill, J. (2016). Die Sprechstimme in der Musik – Komposition, Notation, Transkription. Systematische Musikwissenschaft. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-658-12494-6

Hemming, J., Merrill, J. (2015). On the distinction of musical hallucinations, musical hallucinosis and involuntary musical imagery. In Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000112

Merrill, J. (2015). Musik und Sprache im Gehirn und in der Therapie. In Sprechen. Zeitschrift für Sprechwissenschaft, Sprechpädagogik, Sprechtherapie, Sprechkunst 60, 39-51.

Bose, I., Hirschfeld, U., Neuber, B., Stock, E. (2013, 2016; unter Mitarbeit). Einführung in die Sprechwissenschaft. Phonetik, Rhetorik, Sprechkunst. Tübingen: Narr-Verlag.

Merrill, J. (2013). Song and speech perception: Evidence from fMRI, lesion studies and musical disorder. PhD Thesis, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (MPI Series in Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, 148).http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/faces/viewItemFullPage.jsp?itemId=escidoc:1739211:4

Merrill, J., Sammler, D., Bangert, M., Goldhahn, D., Lohmann, G., Turner, R., Friederici, A.D. (2012). Perception of words and pitch patterns in song and speech. In Frontiers in Psychology 3(76), 1-13. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00076/full

Merrill, J. (2012). Song and Speech Perception – Evidence from fMRI, Lesion Studies and Musical Disorder. In Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain 22(2), 190.

Awards & Grants


  • On the Difference Between Perceived and Felt Emotions in Music

    In this project we study the physiological and neuronal correlates of perceived musical expression and the feelings sparked by music listening. The assumption that the physiological and affective phenomena are congruent has been a cornerstone of ...

  • Concert Research

    Especially in cuturally Western regions of the world, the concert is a very important and influential social context of music listening. It is closely intertwined with the development of instrumental music and the notion of musical autonomy and ...

  • Disliked Music

    In Western cultures, musical taste, understood as a particular attitude towards music, is an important aspect of one’s self-concept and self-perception. As an affective and expressive medium, music not only serves to satisfy emotional and social ...