Professor Catherine (Kate) Stevens


Institute Director

"Memories are Made of This: Exploring the Psychology of Learning and Memory in Music and Dance" - Kate Stevens, Music on the Mind podcast (opens in a new window), Melbourne Recital Hall, June 2014

"Brain Dance: The Art and Science of Movement" - recording from Adelaide Festival of Ideas (opens in a new window), South Australia, October 19 2013


As a cognitive psychologist, I apply experimental methods to study cognition of complex auditory and temporal phenomena.

Doctoral research at the University of Sydney investigated musical training and pattern recognition in human listeners and artificial neural network models. Postdoctoral research at the University of Queensland included novel application of simple recurrent networks to temporal, musical prediction tasks.

Interdisciplinary research with students and colleagues includes investigation of general mechanisms operating in the perception of music, chronic tinnitus, and auditory warning signals, and applying experimental methods to evaluate human-computer interaction. Research into choreographic cognition has led to theorising and experimentation on embodied cognition, audience response to dance, and memory for complex movement.

Research Interests

  • Psychological processes in creating and performing contemporary dance; audience response to the performing arts
  • Auditory cognition: perception of, and memory for, music and warning signals
  • Effects of chronic tinnitus on cognition
  • Application of experimental methods to evaluate complex systems and human-computer interaction

Qualifications and Honours

  • Best Paper Golden Award, 13th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction (HCI), San Diego, July 2009
  • Best Paper Award, 8th International Conference on Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics, San Diego, July 2009
  • Best Communication Award: Intl Assoc for Dance Medicine & Science Conference, 2007
  • Early Career Research Award Western Sydney University Macarthur 1997
  • Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 1993–1995
  • PhD, University of Sydney, 1993
  • Australian Postgraduate Research Award 1988–1992
  • BA(Hons I), Psychology, University of Sydney, 1988
  • Blanka Buring Prize for Psychology III, University of Sydney 1984
  • MAPS, RPsych
  • University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (declined)


  • Institute Director, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University, 2017 (present)
  • Director of Research and Engagement, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University, 2015 - 2017
  • Former Research Program Leader, Music Cognition & Action, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University
  • Professor, Psychology, School of Social Sciences & Psychology, Western Sydney University
  • Founding President (1996-2007), Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS) Inc.
  • Associate Editor, Music Perception

Full Publications

For a full listing of my publications please see my personal publications page.(opens in a new window)

Contact Catherine


For all research and engagement enquiries please email,

+61 2 9772 6324
Western Sydney University Bankstown campus (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra)