Come along to this free lecture by Dr Samuel Mehr, winner of the 2023 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, on the psychology of music.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously described music as "the universal language of mankind". Recent insights from cognitive and developmental psychology, cross-cultural data science, and evolutionary anthropology show that he had the right idea.

Royal Society Te Apārangi in partnership with the Canterbury Branch and the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is delighted to host Dr Samuel Mehr to speak as the 2023 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist. He will present findings from an array of studies that together demonstrate the striking universality of our musical minds.


Dr Samuel Mehr is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Auckland and a Rutherford Discovery Fellow. He is also an adjunct Associate Professor at the Yale University Child Study Center (USA). In addition to more traditional psychological experimental work in infants, children, and adults, he directs The Music Lab, established in 2017 at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology. The lab specialises in large-scale, gamified citizen science. You can participate at

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14 August, Christchurch: Ara, City Campus, Building DL, Room DLEC, 130 Madras St, Christchurch.
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28 August, Nelson:Nelson College for Girls, 400 Trafalgar Street South, Nelson.
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