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The University of Chicago
Department of Psychology
5848 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL, 60637

Office Phone: (773) 834-1986
Office: Beecher 402
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Stephen Van Hedger


Stephen is a doctoral student in the Cognitive Psychology Program at the University of Chicago, pursuing a dual PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Musicology. A graduate of the University of Chicago in 2009 with an A.B. in Music, Stephen worked with Dr. Howard Nusbaum in the Psychology Department and Dr. Berthold Hoeckner in the Music Department on his undergraduate honors thesis, which explored how different affective styles of music influence threat perception. Stephen began the doctoral program at the University of Chicago in the autumn of 2010.

Research Interests

Stephen's current research examines the relationship between music and language through studying music and prosody, musical metaphors, and absolute pitch. Through a more solid understanding of the underlying cognitive mechanisms in music, he hopes to inform current theories of speech perception, and in doing so, help answer fundamental questions such as: is speech special, or is there a more general auditory mechanism that encompasses the acquisition and use of music and language? To that avail, he is interested in the formation of expectations and the role of attention in perceptual learning, as well as sleep consolidation.


Hedger, S.C., Nusbaum, H.C., Lescop, O., Wallisch, P., Hoeckner, B. (2013). Music can elicit a visual motion aftereffect. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 75, 1039-1047.

Hedger, S.C., Heald, S.M., Nusbaum, H.C. (2013). Absolute pitch may not be so absolute. Psychological Science, 24, 1496-1502.

Hedger, S. C., Nusbaum, H.C., Hoeckner, B. (2013). Conveying movement in music and prosody. PLoS One, 10.1371/journal.pone.0076744


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