Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Liila Taruffi is an Assistant Professor at the Academy of Music of Hong Kong Baptist University. Her academic background spans both humanities and sciences. For her undergraduate and master's degrees, Liila studied Theoretical Philosophy and Aesthetics at the University of Florence (Italy). She then pursued an MSc in Music, Mind & Brain from Goldsmiths, University of London (UK), and a PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience of Music from the Free University of Berlin (Germany), where she was affiliated with the Cluster of Excellence "Languages of Emotion”. Her doctoral work (which was awarded the Marie-Schlei Preis by the Free University) examined emotional and cognitive experiences evoked by sad-sounding music, addressing the supposed paradox of why people deliberately choose to listen to sad music given that sadness is inherently a negative emotion usually avoided in everyday life. Subsequently, Liila held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Health Psychology Division of the Free University of Berlin, working on a mobile experience sampling project exploring the relationship between music, spontaneous thought, and well-being in daily life. After her postdoc, she worked as a Lecturer in Music Psychology at the Music Department of Durham University (UK).

Liila’s research interests are wide-ranging and are placed at the intersections of psychology, neuroscience and aesthetics: from music-evoked emotions to internally oriented mental experiences and their impact on mental health and well-being. Her recent work focuses on examining how music can be used to modulate the occurrence and phenomenal contents of ongoing thoughts (e.g., mind-wandering episodes) as well as mental imagery (e.g., visual images in one's mind's eye). Liila has recently co-edited the volume "Music and Mental Imagery" (Routledge, 2022), which provides a critical overview of cutting-edge research on the various types of mental imagery associated with music, and draws on perspectives from music psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, musicology, clinical psychology, and music education. Liila is also interested in how individual differences in personality traits (e.g., empathy and alexithymia) shape music-related and broader aesthetic experiences. More recently, she has been particularly keen to examine music-evoked mind-wandering in ecological settings (e.g., live music festival, personal music listening via smartphone). Ultimately, her research is driven by the goal of practical applications of music for therapeutic practices and for enhancing well-being in daily life. To achieve this aim, she employs the tools of affective and cognitive psychology, as well as neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI. Additionally, she uses ecologically valid methodologies, including mobile experience sampling in daily life, psychophysiology, and qualitative data analysis.

Research Interests

Music Psychology and Neuroscience

Music Cognition

Mental Imagery


Music & Emotion



Health and Well-Being

Chinese Name


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Music Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin

Award Date: 21 Dec 2016

Master, Music, Mind and Brain, Goldsmiths, University of London

Award Date: 1 Nov 2011

Master, Aesthetics, University of Florence

Award Date: 9 Nov 2009

Bachelor, Theoretical Philosophy, University of Florence

Award Date: 13 Jul 2006


Dive into the research topics where Liila TARUFFI is active. Topic labels come from the works of this scholar.
  • 1 Similar Scholars

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or