Matthew Sachs

Matthew Sachs is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms involved in emotions and feeling in response to music. He received his PhD from the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, directed by Dr. Antonio Damasio, and his B.A. from Harvard University. Matthew’s projects involve applying data-driven, multivariate models to capture the patterns of neural activity that accompany uniquely human experiences with music, such as feelings of chills, pleasurable sadness, and nostalgia. Matthew is the 2019 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

Project Title

Mapping the Rich Tapestry of Music-Evoked Emotions

Christopher Baldassano
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

Mariusz Kozak
Associate Professor of Music, Columbia University

Kevin Ochsner
Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

Christopher Peacocke
Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University


Newman, D. B., & Sachs, M. (2020). The Negative Interactive Effects of Nostalgia and Loneliness on Affect in Daily Life. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2185.

Sachs, M. E., Habibi, A., Damasio, A., & Kaplan, J. T. (2019). Dynamic Intersubject Neural Synchronization Reflects Affective Responses to Sad Music. NeuroImage, 116512.

Sachs, M. E., Damasio, A., & Habibi, A. (2020). Unique Personality Profiles Predict When and Why Sad Music Is Enjoyed. Psychology of Music, 0305735620932660.

Greer, T., Mundnich, K., Sachs, M., & Narayanan, S. (2020, May). The Role of Annotation Fusion Methods in the Study of Human-Reported Emotion Experience During Music Listening. In ICASSP 2020-2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) (pp. 776-780). IEEE.

Newman, D. B., Sachs, M. E., Stone, A. A., & Schwarz, N. (2020). Nostalgia and well-being in daily life: An ecological validity perspective. Journal of personality and social psychology118(2), 325.

Sachs, M. E., Kaplan, J., & Habibi, A. (2019). Echoing the emotions of others: empathy is related to how adults and children map emotion onto the body. Cognition and Emotion33(8), 1639-1654.

Greer, T., Ma, B., Sachs, M., Habibi, A., & Narayanan, S. (2019, October). A Multimodal View into Music's Effect on Human Neural, Physiological, and Emotional Experience. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (pp. 167-175).

Ma, B., Greer, T., Sachs, M., Habibi, A., Kaplan, J., & Narayanan, S. (2019, September). Predicting human-reported enjoyment responses in happy and sad music. In 2019 8th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII) (pp. 607-613). IEEE.