Dr Georgina Floridou

Georgina Floridou Profile photo

Department of Music
The University of Sheffield
Jessop Building
34 Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

Email : g.floridou@sheffield.ac.uk


In 2017, I was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to join the Department of Music in the University of Sheffield for a 3-year research project under the mentoring of Dr. Victoria Williamson. Currently I serve as interim director of the “Music and Wellbeing” research unit and I am a member of the Music, Brain, Health & Technology lab. I also teach music psychology at postgraduate level.

In my research I use involuntary musical imagery (INMI, also known as “earworms”; music that appears in the mind involuntarily and repeatedly) as a tool to investigate the human mind and thought and specifically spontaneous thoughts, such as involuntary autobiographical and semantic memories and unintentional mind wandering. My current research project focuses on INMI and ageing, looking in particular at how the phenomenological characteristics such as the frequency and emotional valence attributed to INMI and other forms of spontaneous thoughts change (or not) as we age.

I hold an undergraduate degree from the Psychology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and an MSc and PhD in music psychology (Music, Mind and Brain group) from Goldsmiths, University of London (UK). My PhD research was funded by the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY - Greece) and focused on the cognitive states preceding INMI and other forms of spontaneous thoughts, individual differences in the experiences, while in addition I conducted a study about novel INMI experienced by composers.

Before joining the Department of Music, I worked as a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit of the Psychology Institute, University of Leiden (the Netherlands). My research focused on the interplay of voluntary musical imagery, music listening, and movement as well as the relationship between mental imagery and ageing. Subsequently I worked in the Clinical Psychology Unit of the Department of Psychology of the University of Sheffield, on a British Academy project investigating the relationship between INMI and obsessive intrusive thoughts.

My overall research lies at the intersection of cognitive psychology, music psychology, and neuroscience and aims to understand, the cognitive mechanisms underlying the experiences of mental imagery, music listening, and spontaneous thoughts and how they can be harnessed in health and wellbeing. The research methods I use involve behavioural measures, experience sampling, neuroimaging techniques (EEG) as well as surveys and interviews.

Research Interests

  • Musical mental imagery (involuntary, in the form of “earworms” and musical mind-pops, as well as voluntary)
  • Spontaneous cognition
  • Music and movement
  • Health and wellbeing

Journal Articles

  • Floridou, G. A., Williamson, V. J., & Stewart, L. (2016). A novel indirect method for capturing involuntary musical imagery under varying cognitive load. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(11), 2189-2199
  • Floridou, G. A., Williamson, V. J., Stewart, L., & Müllensiefen, D. (2015). The Involuntary Musical Imagery Scale. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain, 25(1), 28-36.
  • Floridou, G. A., & Müllensiefen, D. (2015). Environmental and Mental Conditions Predicting the Experience of Involuntary Musical Imagery: An Experience Sampling Method Study. Conscientiousness & Cognition, 33, 472-486.
  • Floridou, G. A., Williamson, V. J., & Müllensiefen, D. (2012). Contracting Earworms: The Roles of Personality and Musicality. In E. Cambouropoulos, C, Tsougras, K. Mavromatis, K. Pastiadis (Eds) Proceedings of ICMPC-ESCOM 12 (Thessaloniki: Greece), 302-310.


Williamson, V. J., & Floridou, G. A. (2014). Episodic memory. In Thompson, W. F. (Ed.). (2014). Music in the social and behavioral sciences: An encyclopedia. (Vols. 1-2). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.