Peter M. C. Harrison

Postdoctoral researcher

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics


I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Computational Auditory Perception research group at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. I’m interested in computational approaches to cognitive science, and how they might help us understand statistical cognition, auditory perception, and musical aesthetics.


  • PhD in Cognitive Science, 2019

    Queen Mary, University of London

  • MSc in Music, Mind & Brain, 2015

    Goldsmiths, University of London

  • BA in Music, 2014

    University of Cambridge




incon - Modelling perceptual consonance.


hrep - Harmony representation for music cognition research.

Musical tests

A new generation of musical ability tests.

Voice leading

voicer - An R package for analysing and generating voice leadings.



Postdoctoral researcher

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics

Oct 2019 – Present Frankfurt, Germany
I am based in Nori Jacoby’s research group, ‘Computational Auditory Perception’. We aim to explore how individuals from diverse backgrounds perceive sound, music, and other stimuli, and how these perceptual differences may be explained through adaptation and learning.

Scientific Chair


Jan 2017 – Aug 2018 London, UK
We hosted the 10th International Conference for Students of Systematic Musicology (SysMus17) in 2017. As Scientific Chair, I was responsible for the academic side of the conference, in particular managing manuscript submission, peer reviewing, and making final decisions about manuscript acceptance.

Data scientist


Apr 2016 – Present Reading, UK
SoundOut is an automated crowdsourced prediction and validation SaaS platform capable of testing the resonance of any media type (imagery, concepts, video, audio) with any target demographic in over 35 countries. I have helped SoundOut to develop and maintain computational tools for language analysis, quality checking, and prediction generation.

Organ scholar

Royal Hospital Chelsea

Sep 2014 – Aug 2015 London, UK
I worked alongside the excellent professional choir at the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s weekly choral services, primarily contributing as an organist but occasionally as a conductor.

Invited talks

Gibbs Sampling with People

Reward prediction: An explanation for musical pleasure?

Modelling the perception and composition of Western musical harmony

Modelling the perception and composition of Western musical harmony

Representing harmony in statistical theories of Western tonal music