Dr. Siu-Lan Tan
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Kalamazoo College

 

Brief Bio:    
 

Born in Indonesia and raised in Hong Kong, Siu-Lan Tan taught music in Hong Kong and California for many years before shifting her focus to psychology. She earned a B.Mus in Music Education and Associate degree in Piano Pedagogy, while working as a music instructor teaching Kodály-based music classes for children and giving piano instruction at Paulin Center for the Creative Arts. She completed a Ph.D. in Psychology at Georgetown University and one term at Oxford University, focusing on psychology of music and developmental psychology. She has been at Kalamazoo College since 1998, teaching various courses in developmental psychology, psychology of music, and creativity. Her research focuses on listeners’ perceptions of musical form and unity, graphic representations of music, and the role of sound in multimedia, and her publications have appeared in Music Perception, Psychology of Music, Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, & Brain, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Social Behavior and Theory, among other journals. She is author of the book, Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance (2010, Psychology Press: London) with Peter Pfordresher and Rom Harré. She is also contributor and co-editor of the book The Psychology of Music in Multimedia (edited by Siu-Lan Tan, Annabel J. Cohen, Scott D. Lipscomb, and Roger A. Kendall), published by Oxford University Press. 

 

Education:

 
  Ph.D. in Psychology, Georgetown University
M.A. in Psychology, Georgetown University

B. Mus. in Music, Pacific Union College
A.Sc. in Piano Pedagogy, Pacific Union College
California Basic Teaching Credential

Grade 8 Diploma (Highest) in Piano Performance, Royal Schools of Music (London)
Grade 5 Diploma (Advanced) in Music Theory, Royal Schools of Music (London)

   

Courses I Teach:

 
  PSYC 210 Developmental Psychology
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PSYC 285 Psychology of Music

PSYC 460 Social Development
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WRIT 130 Creativity (First-Year Writing Seminar)

Reflections on Teaching:

 
  Someone once told me that one reason you should go to college is "to make your mind an interesting place to live in for the rest of your life." A college education is not simply a conduit to a marketable profession, but enriches life in a much deeper and more pervasive sense. While I want students to master the content area of my courses, my higher aim is to ignite a lifelong passion for learning. I love all aspects of teaching and learning, but my favorite moments happen in the classroom, as we unfold an idea together, layer by layer. There are moments that I like to call "lift"-when an idea is so captivating that we are all transported, all of one mind for a moment. The sensation of being suspended by an idea together is absolutely magical! A love of learning adds such a rich dimension to life, because it makes every day full of curiosity, wonder, and discovery. More than anything else, this is what I hope each student will find at "K."

* Especially for "K" students
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Research
Interests:

 

 

My primary interests are in topics in psychology of music. In particular, I am interested in the perception of musical form and unity, visual representations of music, and the role of music in film and other media. Music is a temporal art. It exists in time, and its form and structure are expressed in time. I am intrigued by how musically trained and untrained listeners "unpack" this structure as music unfolds in time. What makes notes, phrases and section "cohere" so that a composition sounds like a unified whole? And how does listening change with repeated hearings? I am also interested in how listeners visually represent music in their own forms of music notation, and how they interpret conventional forms of musical notation. While my early studies examined active or focused listening, in recent years my attention has started to shift to incidental listening. An excellent context for studying this is to examine the effects of music on film viewing and on video game performance. The viewers' attention is drawn to the screen images, yet music can have subtle but powerful effects on viewers' interpretations of the images and unfolding narrative in film, and on how gamers perform while playing a video game.

I have also published some empirical and theoretical papers focusing on social behavior, such as the effects of violent media (aggressive virtual reality games), children's friendship interactions, and 'positioning theory'. Although my focus is now on music research, I keep current on topics in social development (especially school bullying).

 

Representative Publications:

 

 

Books

Tan, S. L., Cohen, A. J., Lipscomb, S. D, & Kendall, R. A. (2013) (Editors and contributors). The psychology of music in multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[See http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199608157.do#.UUR69BmzOal ]

Tan, S. L., Pfordresher, P. Q., & Harré, R. (2010). Psychology of music: From sound to significance. London: Routledge and Psychology Press. A link to this book's website (which includes a sample chapter that you can download) can be found at http://www.psypress.com/psychology-of-music-9781841698687

Journals Articles: Research and Theoretical

Athanasopoulos, G., Moran, N., & Tan, S. L. (In progress). A cross-cultural investigation of visual representations of music: UK, Japan, and New Guinea.

Tan, S. L., Spackman, M. P., & Wakefield, E. M. (Under revision). Effects of diegetic and non-diegetic music on viewers’ interpretations of film.

Tan, S. L. (2013). Visual representations of music in three cultures. Empirical Musicology Review, vol. 8.

Tan, S. L., Baxa, J. P., & Spackman, M. P. (2010). Effects of built-in audio versus unrelated background music on performance in an adventure role-playing game. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 2 (3). [New peer-reviewed international journal established January 2009]

Tan, S. L., Wakefield, E. M., & Jeffries, W. P. (2009). Musically untrained college students’ interpretations of musical notation: sound, silence, loudness, duration, and temporal order.  Psychology of Music, 37 (1), 5-24.

Tan, S. L., & Spackman, M. P., & Wakefield, E. M. (2008). Effects of diegetic and non-diegetic presentation of film music on viewers’ interpretation of film narrative. Conference Proceedings for the 2008 International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition, Hokkaido University, Japan. Australia: Causal Productions.

Tan, S. L., Spackman, M. P., & Bezdek, M. A. (2007). Viewers’ interpretations of film characters' emotions: Effects of presenting music before or after a character is shown. Music Perception, 25 (2), 135-152.

Tan, S. L., Spackman, M. P., & Peaslee, C. L. (2006).  Effects of repeated exposure on liking and judgments of thematic unity of patchwork and intact compositions.  Music Perception. 23 (5), 407-421.

Tan, S. L., & Spackman, M. P. (2005).  Listeners’ judgments of the musical unity of structurally altered and intact musical compositions.  Psychology of Music. 33 (2),133-153.

Tan, S. L., & Kelly, M. E. (2004).  Graphic representations of short musical compositions.  Psychology of Music, 32 (2), 191-212.

Tan, S. L. (2002).  Beginners’ intuitions about musical notation.  College Music Symposium, 42, 131-141.

Tan, S. L., & Bartlett, M. E. (2000, July).  Visual representations of music:  Abstract and pictorial modes.  International Journal of Psychology, 35, 309. 

Tan, S. L., & Moghaddam, F. M. (1995).  Reflexive positioning and culture.  Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 25, pp. 387-401.

Calvert, S. L., & Tan, S. L. (1994).  Impact of virtual reality on young adults’ physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts.  Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 15, 125-139.

Book Chapters

Tan, S. L., Cohen, A. J., Lipscomb, S. D., & Kendall, R. A. (2013). Future research directions for music and sound in multimedia. In Tan, S. L., Cohen, A. J., Lipscomb, S. D., & Kendall, R. A., (eds.). The psychology of music in multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grimshaw, M., Tan, S. L., & Lipscomb, S. D. (2013). Playing with sounds: The role of sound and music in video games. In Tan, S. L., Cohen, A. J., Lipscomb, S. D., & Kendall, R. A. (eds.). The psychology of music in multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cohen, A. J., Lipscomb, S. D., Tan, S. L., & Kendall, R. A. (2013). The psychology of music in multimedia. In Tan, S. L., Cohen, A. J. Lipscomb, S. D., & Kendall, R. A. (eds.). The psychology of music in multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tan, S. L., Baxa, J., & Spackman, M. P. (2012). Effects of built-in audio versus unrelated background music on performance in an adventure role-playing game. In Ferdig, R. E. & Freitas, S. (Eds.) Interdisciplinary advancements in gaming, simulations and virtual environments: Emerging trends,( pp. 142-164). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Tan, S. L. & Moghaddam, F. M. (1999). Positioning in inter-group relations. In R. Harré & L. van Langenhove (Eds.), Positioning theory: Moral contexts for intentional actions, (pp. 178-193). Oxford, England: Blackwell.

Tan, S. LO. & Moghaddam, F. M. (1999). Reflexive positioning: Culture and private discourse. In R. Harré & L. van Langenhove (Eds.), Positioning theory: Moral contexts for intentional actions, (pp. 74-86). Oxford, England: Blackwell.

Calvert, S. L., & Tan, S. L. (1996). Impact of virtual reality on young adults' physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts: Interaction versus observation. In P. M. Greenfield & R. R. Cocking (Eds.), Interacting with video, (pp. 67-81). Norwood: Ablex.

Book Reviews

Tan, S. L. (2008). Review of Listen to Their Voices: Research and Practice in Early Childhood Music (edited by Katharine Smithrim and Rena Upitis, 2007).  Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 20 (1).

Articles on Teaching

Grossman, R. W., Kim, S., Tan, S. L., & Ford, T. (March, 2008).  Stereotype threat and recommendations for overcoming it: A teaching case study.  [The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science is an NSF-funded, peer-reviewed website at http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/cases/case.html]

Personal Interests:  


 

Piano, music composition, children's books, creativity in all its forms, performing arts, reading, film, food, travel, learning, and teaching.

Click here to visit the Kalamazoo College Psychology Department homepage.

Dr. Siu-Lan Tan
Department of Psychology
403C Olds-Upton
Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Email: tan@kzoo.edu
Last updated August 20, 2013