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Cian Doherty, Postgraduate Research Student

PhD student Cian DohertyContact Details


Project Details

First Supervisor: Professor Roddy Cowie

Second Supervisor: Dr. Tim Fosker

PhD Title: Audience responses to live musical performance

Summary of Project: My PhD is focused on audience/listener responses to live music performances, and is part of a larger EU project called SIEMPRE.  By developing appropriate subjective measures on a continuous and retrospective level I hope to be able to describe differences between and within performances and also compare these with other methodologies such as physiology and motion-capture. This will be integrated into the overall project aims of analysing the social interactions in musical performances. Many of my experiments are run in conjunction with the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) in QUB.

Research Interest Group: Perception Action Communication

Research Interests

The psychology of music (particularly emotion)
Statistical analysis of continuous data.


2009: NIBPS conference poster presentation: 'Applying the musical emotions model to non-classical music'
2010-2012: Series of meetings of SIEMPRE project members in Genoa, Geneva, Barcelona and Belfast with the aim of planning, comparing and consolidating work between institutions.
2012: NIBPS conference presentation: 'Assessing the Quality of Experience (QoE) of an audience in a live music scenario'


R. Cowie, C. Doherty, and E. McMahon (2009) "Using dimensional descriptions to express the emotional content of music," in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, pp. 1-6.

Additional Information

The SIEMPRE project (Social Interaction and Entrainment in Musical PeRformance Experimentation). The goal of the SIEMPRE project is to develop novel research theoretical and methodological frameworks, computational models, and algorithms for the analysis of creative communication within groups of people.
Research in SIEMPRE is focused on ensemble musical performance and audience experience, chosen for the development of models and techniques for measuring creative social interaction in an ecologically valid framework.
In particular, the focus is on exploring interpersonal interaction in (i) musician-musician, (ii) conductor-musicians,  and (iii) musician-listener scenarios. The overarching strategy of the project is to study the interpersonal processes that make live performance and listening unique phenomena.
We focus on three aspects of the phenomenon – entrainment (which creates physical alignment between the individuals); emotional contagion (which creates emotional bonds between them); and co-creation, by which both performers and audience contribute to shaping the overall event. We study each at two levels – between performers, and between performer and audience

Before my PhD I studied at Queens Univeristy Belfast where I obtained a 1st class BSc (Hons) Psychology (2009) and an award for best undergraduate thesis.