Music sounds better with truth: thanks and farewell Susan Maury

Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) joined us in late October and is both a psychology PhD student and research and policy specialist in the gendered disadvantage of women and girls with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.

Susan has done an incredible job of storifying her tweets day by day, so please do click through and remember, or catch up on the almost endless number of fascinating music psychology topics and other discussions you may have missed during Susan’s curation.

Day 1: In which I introduce myself, the discipline of music psychology, and the main themes for the week based on my area of expertise.  An evolutionary frame for thinking about the reasons why we make and enjoy music is introduced, and we discuss theories for music’s ‘utility’ – regulating emotion states, creating a shared emotion state, and facilitating empathy, which leads to more pro-social behaviours.

Day 2: In which we discuss musicality, amusia, perfect pitch, the reward system and music anhedonia, We also address background music, earworms, and melody vs. lyrics.

Day 3: In which we discuss babies, music, and motherese – and even a bit about pets. We poke a hole in the Mozart effect and discuss what music communicates.

Day 4: In which we discuss how we use music, why we like sad music, how music promotes empathy, some thoughts on mental/brain health and well-being (along with a few app suggestions), the power of music in a range of settings, and what kind of music is most likely to move us.

Day 5: In which we go on a field trip to learn about research conducted outside of academia.  We discuss grey literature, advocacy, and how science and politics intersect, sometimes in unhelpful ways. This includes examples of positive psychology and climate change. We also consider the dichotomy between faith and science and the critical role that art has in advocacy.  Finally, we discussed citizen science opportunities.

Day 6: In which we start out unpacking the current academic job climate; changes at universities and changes in personal priorities mean many PhD’s find themselves working outside of the university system. We the moved on to a comparison of listening vs. creating music, singing and social cohesion, singing and empathy, more on earworms, and humming giraffes.

Day 7: In which we talk a bit more about Mozart vs. parents, the effects of shared rhythmic experiences, synchronicity in music-making, music therapy and autism spectrum disorders, music and Williams Syndrome, birds and motherese, a description of my research, and a wrap-up of the week.

And finally, this addendum on climate change.


Susan also continued her outstanding performance in answering our post-curation interview, with responses below.

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

It was tiring but awesome! The followers of this account were overwhelmingly supportive and interested and had so many great questions to keep things rolling.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

Yes. It took a few days for me to work out how to best handle the inundation of notifications. I found best way was to focus on “mentions” only and respond to questions straight away if possible, then come back and pick them up later for more detail.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

It was so wonderful to see the recommendations being tweeted to follow the account, and much positive feedback to the threads. No lowlights really, the whole week was great. There was a significant drop in interactions when I took people to work (social research and policy) but as we got into the importance of advocacy I was able to bring people along into why this is an important skill.

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?

There were plenty of topics that were raised that I didn’t have time to explore, Also, plenty of questions presented to me which were outside of my area of expertise. Everyone has experience with music so everyone has questions, but music psychology spans many disciplines and I was in no way equipped to answer all the questions. I did my best to connect the questions to the people/accounts who were positioned to respond.

Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

Yes and yes – but very flexibly. I had a detailed running sheet for the first few days and used my own research framing to respond to questions. I also built time in to my day to research and prep for questions that had been raised. I also budgeted time to get a daily Storify done. This was for two reasons: 1) Storify is easier to use if the tweets are “fresh” and 2) it allowed for followers to get caught up on previous discussions.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Hmm, think I’ve covered that in earlier responses. Focus on “mentions,” try to respond to questions immediately but circle back to them in your own time. Budget time for prep for each day based on previous day’s interactions. Also, don’t dumb the science down. Make it accessible but I found people appreciated when I shared academic papers on topics they were interested in.

What other people or accounts should people follow if they enjoyed your tweets this week?

I shared a few my penultimate day…

Thanks once again Susan from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. It was an absolute pleasure.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: