William Thompson

Visiting Scholar






Macquarie University

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William Thompson

William Forde Thompson is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, where he is Director of the Music Sound and Performance lab. His research concerns the psychology and neuroscience of music, including cross-cultural music cognition, music and emotion, and the psychosocial and health benefits of music. Some of his research is summarized in his 2014 book “Music, Thought and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music” (2nd edition, Oxford University Press). Over the past ten years, he has been President of the North American Society for Music Perception and Cognition, the Australian Music Psychology Society, and the Asia-Pacific Society for the Cognition of Music. In 2015 he was made a Fellow of the North American Association for Psychological Science.

Primary Recipient Awards

William Forde Thompson – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2019

Known for his warmly inclusive speech style and remarkable skills in presenting complex research, Dr. Thompson will review existing research and theory on how music and other creative arts have been used to nurture social cohesion and community resilience across segments of society. Special attention will be directed towards the benefits of creative arts programs for disadvantaged groups, whether arising from physical or cognitive disability, social exclusion or marginalisation, or both.
Dr Thompson will present a framework for the investigation and promotion of intercultural music engagement (IME), along with an outline of its implications for education and social policy.

Dr. Thompson will bring extensive research insight on the psychosocial and neurological benefits of the creative arts for individuals with physical and cognitive impairment as well as innovative work on how music can impact intercultural understanding, issues related to refugees and recent migrants. Working closely with hosts, Ève Poudrier and Rena Sharon (School of Music), Silke Appel-Cresswell, Jon Stoessl and Robin Hsiung (Medicine-Neurology), and Christina Hoppman (Health Psychology), Dr. Thompson will help foster research and practice initiatives focused on disability and marginalization in multicultural societies, addressing questions of how engagement with the creative arts can increase cultural fluency and facilitate collaboration across individuals and communities.
Links between existing research groups will stimulate avenues of research that have gained momentum through the Centre for Brain Health (co-director, Jon Stoessl) and Brain Wellness Program (Silke Appel-Cresswell), and several Research Excellence Clusters.