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Jacob Kingsbury Downs

Music psychologist

In my research, I use a range of approaches, from the scientific to the philosophical, to study experiences of music and sound in both public and private spaces. I’m interested in how individuals and groups engage with music and sound in their everyday lives, including how they use sound technologies such as headphones to structure their experiences of the wider world. My current projects include explorations of instant messaging ‘voice-notes’, playing music and sound out loud on public transport (‘loudcasting’), and how music about nature and climate change might impact listeners’ environmental values.

I attended the University of Oxford for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, then studied for my doctorate at the University of Sheffield. I’m now back at Oxford as a Departmental Lecturer in the Faculty of Music, as well as Director of Studies at Lady Margaret Hall, one of Oxford’s colleges.

In May 2024, I was announced as one of ten BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers for 2024.