Professor Kate Stevens


Institute Director

Pro Vice-Chancellor, STEM

Editor - Music Perception

"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


Kate Stevens is Professor in Psychology and Director of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development at Western Sydney University. She holds BA (Hons) and PhD degrees from the University of Sydney. Kate conducts basic and applied research into the learning, perception, creation, and cognition of complex, non-verbal sequences using the familiar and universal contexts of music and dance.

Research projects have included investigating: the implicit learning of musical rhythm and timing; the psychophysics and psychophysiology of musical loudness; cognitive and affective reactions to contemporary dance; and long-term memory for music and dance.  In 1996 she founded the Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS) Inc. and in 2002 chaired the 7th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition.

As well as her basic research into music perception, Kate has been a Chief Investigator on three Australian Research Council projects collaborating with members of the Australian dance industry, and applies methods from experimental psychology to investigate human-machine interaction (e.g., design/evaluation of auditory warnings; human-avatar and human-robot interaction).  She is author of more than 140 articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings papers, among them an ebook on creativity and cognition in contemporary dance.

Podcasts and research materials are available here:

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
  • Application of experimental methods to evaluate complex systems and human-computer interaction

Qualifications and Honours

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales – Elected February 2020
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award: Excellence in Postgraduate Research Training and Supervision. University of Western Sydney,  2012.
  • 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


  • 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 Psychology, Western Sydney University
  • Founding President (1996-2007), Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS) Inc.
  • Editor, Music Perception

Full Publications

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

Contact Kate


+61 2 9772 6324
Western Sydney University Westmead Campus