The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

W. Jay Dowling


Research Interests

Music cognition, including encoding melodies into memory, tracking motion in tonal space, and the origins of emotional responses to music

Curriculum Vitae


Email: [email protected]
Phone: 972-883-2059
Office: GR_4.202B
Campus Mail Code: GR41
Website: Music Perception and Cognition (MPaC) Laboratory


Dr. Jay Dowling is a leading researcher in music and cognition, with a focus on memory for melodies and how music is represented in the mind and brain. His recent research explored early encoding of novel melodies into memory and the tracking of modulations from key to key in Western and Indian music. Dr. Dowling’s previous research studied how melodic contours and musical scales are combined to form melodies as well as the discovery that people with five years of music lessons in their youth encode melodies automatically as do-re-mi scale steps. Dr. Dowling is a distinguished lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, associate editor of Music Perception and Psychomusicology: Music, Mind & Brain, and is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Dowling received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

Recent and Selected Representative Publications

Book Chapter

Dowling, W. J. (2010). Music perception. In C. Plack (Ed.), Oxford handbook of auditory science: Hearing (pp. 231-248). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Recent Articles in Peer-Refereed Journals

Dowling, W. J., Magner, H., & Tillmann, B. (2016). Memory improvement for popular music with wide-awake listeners. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, & Brain 26(1), 26-34.

Raman, R., & Dowling, W. J. (2016). Real-time probing of modulations in South Indian classical (Carnãtic) music by Indian and Western musicians. Music Perception, 33(3), 367-393.

Dowling, W. J., & Tillmann, B. (2014). Memory improvement while hearing music: Effects of structural continuity on feature binding. Music Perception, 32(1), 11-32.

Dowling, W. J. (2010). Qualia as intervening variables in the understanding of music cognition. Musica Humana, 2(1), 1-20.