Matthew Sachs

Matthew Sachs is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms involved in emotions and feelings 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. He is the 2019 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience. Matthew completed the PSSN program in 2022. His research project involved 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. He currently works for Spotify where he conducts research as a data scientist.

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 and Chair of Psychology, Columbia University

Christopher Peacocke
Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University


Music and Mood Regulation During the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic
S Hennessy, M Sachs, J Kaplan, A Habibi
PLOS ONE, 2021

Clarifying the Link Between Music and Social Bonding by Measuring Prosociality in Context
M Sachs, O FeldmanHall, DI Tamir
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2021

The Negative Interactive Effects of Nostalgia and Loneliness on Affect in Daily Life
DB Newman, M Sachs
Frontiers in Psychology, 2020

Dynamic Intersubject Neural Synchronization Reflects Affective Responses to Sad Music
M Sachs, A Habibi, A Damasio, JT Kaplan
NeuroImage, 2020

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

Nostalgia and Well-Being in Daily Life: An Ecological Validity Perspective
DB Newman, M Sachs, AA Stone, N Schwarz
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2020

Unique Personality Profiles Predict When and Why Sad Music Is Enjoyed
M Sachs, A Damasio, A Habibi
Psychology of Music, 2020

Echoing the Emotions of Others: Empathy Is Related to How Adults and Children Map Emotion onto the Body
M Sachs, J Kaplan, A Habibi
Cognition and Emotion, 2019

Effects of Music Training on Inhibitory Control and Associated Neural Networks in School-aged Children: A Longitudinal Study
SL Hennessy, M Sachs, B Ilari, A Habibi
Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2019

A Multimodal View Into Music's Effect on Human Neural, Physiological, and Emotional Experience
T Greer, B Ma, M Sachs, A Habibi, S Narayanan
Proceedings of the 27th ACM International Conference on Multimedia, 2019

Predicting Human-reported Enjoyment Responses in Happy and Sad Music
B Ma, T Greer, M Sachs, A Habibi, J Kaplan, S Narayanan
8th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2019