Professor Sarah Wilson

Director MMW

Professor & Deputy Head, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

I am a Clinical Neuropsychologist and research scientist with a particular interest in the interrelationships between brain processes, cognition and behaviour, and their psychosocial outworkings. This interest has issued two lines of research into the study of brain and behaviour that inform clinical practice: (1) clinical neuropsychology, with a specialty in epilepsy and extensions to other medical conditions, and (2) behavioural neuroscience, with a specialty in music neurocognition.

The first arm of my research profile investigates the health outcomes and psychosocial functioning of patients following major medical treatments for chronic illness, such as epilepsy surgery. It has led to the development of a new model of psychosocial adjustment that has subsequently been extended to other medical conditions, such as narcolepsy and cardiac disease.

The second arm of my research profile investigates the influence of genetic and environmental factors in effecting morphological and functional changes in the brain (cortical plasticity) and the relationship of these changes to cognitive skill development across different domains. My particular interest lies in the auditory domain, focusing on the development of musical abilities and expertise and their neurobiological basis, the effect of brain injury on the performance of musicians (amusia), the effect of brain injury on music performance (amusia) and the use of music to facilitate cerebral recovery.

Research Interests

  • Clinical Neuropsychology

    Psychosocial and cognitive aspects of medical illness and treatment outcome, including epilepsy, narcolepsy, cardiac surgery, cerebral aneurysm and stroke
    The neurobiological basis of mood and sexual functioning
    Quality of life research

  • Behavioural Neuroscience
    • Auditory perception and recognition, music perception, cognition, and memory
    • Musical ability and expertise, absolute pitch, amusia
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Williams Syndrome
  • Methodologies of Interest

    Qualitative research
    Structural and functional neuroimaging
    Music Neuroscience Laboratory
    Music, Auditory Cognition and Mind (MACAM) Research Group

Contact details

T: +61 3 8344 7391