Dr Katie OveryKatie_Profile_Photo

Director of Research; Director of the Human and Social Development Research Group (MHSD); Senior Lecturer, Reid School of Music

E-mail: K.Overy@ed.ac.uk


My core research interest is musical learning, which I explore from the perspectives of music psychology, music pedagogy and music neuroscience. I am particularly interested in the positive effects of musical experience and in bridging the gaps between theory, research and practice. To date I have supervised or examined over 20 interdisciplinary PhD theses on topics such as music and dyslexia, music in foreign language learning, embodied musical experiences, music in prison education and music for cochlear implant users. In 2019 I was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year, UK.

My own research focuses on rhythm and I have co-edited several interdisciplinary special issues on the topic of the musical brain, including for Transactions of the Royal Society B (2015), Proceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences (2012), Cortex (2009) and Contemporary Music Review (2009). My first academic publication in 1998, “Can music really improve the mind?” was one of six papers selected for reprint in the Psychology of Music 40th Anniversay Commemorative Collection (2012). 

From 2010-2013 I was the UK partner in the EC Marie Curie International Training Network EBRAMUS (Europe, Brain and Music) and from 2014-5 I was a Visiting Professor in Music Education at Western University, Canada, where I helped to establish Music, Cognition and the Brain, a new initiative bringing together researchers from the Don Wright Faculty of Music and the Brain and Mind Institute. I am currently collaborating with the Lothian Birth Cohorts, on studies of Musical Experience and Ageing, amongst other ongoing projects. 

Selected Grants

2022 ERASMUS+: ‘Music4Change’

2019 ESRC: ‘Musical Experience and Healthy Ageing’

2018 ESRC: ‘Musical Activities Programme for Children with Dyslexia’

2018 IAD Action Fund award: ‘The Diverse Musical Brain’

2011 EC PF7 People (IEF): ‘Music Moves’

2010 EC PF7 People (ITN): ‘EBRAMUS: Europe, Brain and Music’

2010 Scottish Arts Council: ‘Inspiring Change’ Evaluation

2009 EC Comenius Programme: ‘European Music Portfolio’

2008 The Grammy Foundation: Music and Emotion in Individuals with ASD

2006 AHRC: Essay on the Value of Music Research to Life in the UK

2002 Harold Wingate Foundation: fMRI Music Research with Young Children

Selected Publications 

Okely, J., Overy, K. & Deary, I. (2022). Experience playing a musical instrument and lifetime cognitive change: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Psychological Science. 33(9), 1495–1508.

Harvey, A., Hou, L., Davidson-Kelly, K., Schaefer, R., Hong, S., Overy, K. & Roberts, N. (2021). Increased representation of the non-dominant hand in pianists demonstrated by measurement of 3D morphology of the central sulcus, Psychoradiology, 1 (2), 66–72.

Okely, J., Deary, I. & Overy, K. (2021). The Edinburgh Lifetime Musical Experience Questionnaire (ELMEQ): Non-musical correlates in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. PLoS ONE 16(7): e0254176. (IF: 3.240)

Halpern, A. & Overy, K. (2018). Voluntary Auditory Imagery and Music Pedagogy. The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination. Grimshaw, M., Walther-Hansen, M. & Knakkergaard, M. (eds.). Oxford University Press.

Almeida, A., Overy, K., & Miell, D. (2017). Playing with the Beat: A Process-Oriented Approach to Studying Sensorimotor Synchronization in Early Childhood. The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction. Lessafre, M., Leman, M. & Maes, P-J. (eds.). Routledge, pp.40-48.

Moore, E., Schaefer, R. S., Bastin, M. E., Roberts, N., & Overy, K. (2017). Diffusion tensor MRI tractography reveals increased fractional anisotropy (FA) in arcuate fasciculus following music-cued motor training. Brain and Cognition, 116, 40-46.

Schaefer, R. S., & Overy, K. (2015). Motor responses to a steady beat. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1337(1), 40-44.

Ludke, K. M., Ferreira, F., & Overy, K. (2014). Singing can facilitate foreign language learning. Memory & cognition, 42(1), 41-52.

Smith, R., Rathcke, T., Cummins, F., Overy, K., & Scott, S. (2014). Communicative rhythms in brain and behaviour. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 369(1658), 20130389.

Schaefer, R. S., Morcom, A. M., Roberts, N., & Overy, K. (2014). Moving to music: effects of heard and imagined musical cues on movement-related brain activity. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8.0305735613517411.

Schaefer, R. S., Overy, K., & Nelson, P. (2013). Affect and non-uniform characteristics of predictive processing in musical behaviour. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(03), 226-227.

Overy K (2012). Making Music in a Group: Synchronisation and Shared Experience. In. Overy K., Peretz., I, Zatorre, R., Lopez, L & Majno, M. (Eds).The Neurosciences and Music IV: Learning and Memory. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1252, 65-68.

Ellis RJ, Norton AC, Overy K, Winner E, Alsop DC, Schlaug G. (2012). Differentiating maturational and training influences on fMRI activation during music processing. Neuroimage. Vol. 60, 1902-1912.

Selected Public Engagement

2022 The Economist (Research reported)

2018 BBC News Online (Interview)

2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival (Talk)

2013  Happy Birthday Danny Boy, Independent Documentary Film (Interview)

2012  Lost and Sound, Independent Documentary Film (Interview)

2011  Twinkle, Twinkle, The Telegraph online (Interview)

2011  Reel Science, Music Neuroscience, Edinburgh International Film Festival (Curator)

2010  Conversations: Midori, Edinburgh International Festival (Interview)

2009  Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4 (Interview)

2009  In Tune, BBC Radio 3 (Interview)

2008  Oliver Sacks: Tales of Music and the Brain, Imagine, BBC 1 (Consultant)

2006  The Colour of Sound, Independent Documentary Film (Consultant)

2006  Times Educational Supplement (Interview)

2004  The Musical Brain, BBC Music Magazine (Interview)

2003  Society for Neuroscience Press Conference (Panel member)

Conference and Workshop Organisation

2019 IMHSD Workshop Series on the Diverse Musical Brain, University of Edinburgh

2015 Musical Learning Across the Lifespan (MLAL), Public Symposium, Western University

2013  EBRAMUS Workshop on Music in the Rehabilitation of Memory and Learning, University of Lille

2012  IMHSD Summer Workshop on Hearing, Seeing and Imagining, Herstmonceux Castle

2012  Perspectives on Rhythm and Timing (PoRT), University of Glasgow

2012  Approaches to Rhythm and Timing in Scotland Today (ARTiST), University of Edinburgh

2011  The Neurosciences and Music IV: Learning and Memory, University of Edinburgh

2010  IMHSD Summer Workshop on Music, Pattern and Mathematics, Herstmonceux Castle

2010  Robert Schumann: the Man, the Mind, the Music, London

2009  The Nash Ensemble and the Musical Brain, London

2008  IMHSD Conference: Dance, Timing and Musical Gesture, University of Edinburgh

2007  IMHSD Summer Workshop on Music, Language and Movement, Herstmonceux Castle

2006  Music and Disability, St. Cecilia’s Hall, University of Edinburgh

2006  IMHSD Conference: Rhythm, Time and Temporal Organisation, University of Edinburgh

2005  IMHSD Colloquium: Interactive Minds, University of Edinburgh