PD Dr. Julia Merrill

Research Focus

  • musical taste (disliked music)
  • concert research
  • music/song and speech
  • 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


Since 2014Senior Research Fellow, Music Department, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
2014-2020Research Fellow, Department of Systematic Musicology, Institute of Music, University of Kassel, Germany



Substitute/Guest Professor (W3), Department of Speech Science and Phonetics, University of Halle, 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., & Niedecken, T. (2023). Music and Boredom: A First Insight Into an Unexplored Relationship. Music & Science, 6.doi.org/10.1177/20592043231181215

Merrill, J., Ackermann, T.-I., & Czepiel, A. (2023). Effects of disliked music on psychophysiology. Scientific Reports,13: 20641. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-46963-7.

Merrill, J., Frieler, K., & Ackermann, T. (2023). The structure of musical dislikes (Advance online publication). Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000565

Lange, E. B., Omigie, D., Trenado, C., Müller, V., Wald-Fuhrmann, M. & Merrill, J. (2022) In touch: Cardiac and respiratory patterns synchronize during ensemble singing with physical contact. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 16:928563. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2022.928563

Ackermann, T.‑I., & Merrill, J. (2022). Rationales and functions of disliked music: An in-depth interview study. PloS ONE, 17(2), e0263384. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263384

Merrill, J. (2022): Auditory perceptual assessment of voices: Examining perceptual ratings as a function of voice experience. Current Psychology. 10.1007/s12144-022-02734-7

Czepiel, A., Fink, L. K., Fink, L. T., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Tröndle, M., Merrill, J. (2021): Synchrony in the Periphery: Inter-Subject Correlation of Physiological Responses During Live Music Concerts. Scientific Reports 11, 22457. 10.1038/s41598-021-00492-3

Thissen, B. A. K., Schlotz, W., Abel, C., Scharinger, M., Merrill, J., Haider, T., Menninghaus, W. (2021): At the Heart of Optimal Reading Experiences: Cardiovascular Activity During Flow in Fiction Reading. Reading Research Quarterly. 10.1002/rrq.448

Roese, N. A., Merrill, J. (2021): Consequences of the COVID-19 Lockdown in Germany: Effects of Changes in Daily Life on Musical Engagement and Functions of Music. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(19), 10463. 10.3390/ijerph181910463.

Merrill, J. (2021): Sprecherische Variation in Schillers Bürgschaft – Text und Realisierung im Vergleich. Jahrbuch der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft 65. Berlin: De Gruyter.

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. 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.Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000376.

Merrill, J. (2020): Das Phänomen ‚Brummer‘ aus neurowissenschaftlicher Sicht. In: Fuchs, M. (Hg.) Stimmen hören – Potenziale entwickeln – Störungen behandeln.
Logos Verlag, Berlin. S. 83–94.

Merrill, J., Omigie, D., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2020). Locus of emotion influences psychophysiological reactions to music. PLoS ONE, 15 (8), e0237641. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237641

Merrill, J. (2019): Perzeption und Rezeption des vokalen Ausdrucks im Grenzbereich von Singen und Sprechen. Sprechen. Zeitschrift für Sprechwissenschaft, Sprechpädagogik, Sprechtherapie, Sprechkunst 68, S. 42–58.

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. (Ed.) (2017): Popular Music Studies Today – Proceedings of the 19th conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Kassel, Germany, June 2630, 2017. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. 10.1007/978-3-658-17740-9

Merrill, J., Bangert, M., Sammler, D., Friederici, A. D. (2016):Classifying Song and Speech – Effects of Focal Temporal Lobe Lesions and Musical Disorder. 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. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000112

Merrill, J. (2015). Musik und Sprache im Gehirn und in der Therapie. 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. 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. 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 ...