Universiteit Leiden

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Rebecca Schaefer

Assistant Professor

Dr. R.S. Schaefer
+31 71 527 6748


Rebecca's primary research interests are the neuroscience of moving to music, music performance and music imagination, aiming to apply these findings to rehabilitation settings. She has received MSc's in Clinical Neuropsychology and Music Cognition from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Keele University, UK, respectively. Her subsequent PhD work at the Donders Intitute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior of Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, focused on developing cognitive tasks for Brain-Computer Interfaces, and specifically on decoding music imagery from electrical brain signals. Before coming to Leiden University, she held a SAGE junior research fellowship at UC Santa Barbara and a European Marie Curie fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, UK, where she carried out research focused on the interaction of music and movement, individual differences in rhythmic ability and imagery function. Recent updates and a full cv can be found at her personal website.


  • MUSICMOVES: Let the music move you: involvement of motor networks of the brain in music processing. FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF grant, 2011-2013, €200K (grant applicant)
  • Scottish Music and Health Network. Carnegie Trust Larger Grant, 2013-2015, £50K (co-applicant)
  • Playing towards health: Evidence-based musical games for movement recovery. Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, declined for SAGE Fellowship, £200K (grant applicant)

Publications (selection)

Schaefer, R.S. & Overy, K. (2015). Motor responses to a steady beat. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1337, 40-44.

Schaefer, R.S. (2014). Auditory rhythmic cueing in movement rehabilitation: findings and possible mechanisms. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369: 20130402.

Schaefer, R.S., Morcom, A.M., Roberts, N. & Overy, K. (2014). Moving to music: Effects of heard and imagined musical cues on movement-related brain activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8:774. 

Schaefer, R.S., Desain, P. & Farquhar, J. (2013). Shared processing of perception and imagery of music in decomposed EEG.  NeuroImage, 70, 317-326. 

Schaefer, R.S., Furuya, S., Smith, L. M., Bohannan Kaneshiro, B. & Toiviainen, P. (2012). Probing neural mechanisms of music perception, cognition and performance using multivariate decoding. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain 22(2), 168-174 

Schaefer, R.S., Vlek, R.J. & Desain, P. (2011). Music perception and imagery in EEG: alpha band effects of task and stimulus. International Journal for Psychophysiology, 82(3), 254-259 

Schaefer, R.S., Sadakata, M., Blokland, Y., Farquhar, J., & Desain, P. (2011). Name that tune: decoding music from the listening brain. NeuroImage, 56, 843 - 849 

Schaefer, R.S., Vlek, R.J. & Desain, P. (2011). Decomposing rhythm processing: electroencephalography of perceived and self-imposed rhythmic patterns. Psychological Research, 75(2), 95-106


Assistant Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Gezondheids, Medische- Neuropsychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden



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