Henkjan Honing

Professor in Music Cognition, Principal Investigator

Henkjan Honing is a professor of Music Cognition at both the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He studies what musicality is, and to what extent human beings share musicality with other animals. His aim is to define the cognitive and biological mechanisms that underpin musicality.

In addition to a research agenda (The Origins of Musicality (The MIT Press)), Honing has published several books for the general public, including the English-language publications Music Cognition: The Basics (Routledge) and The Evolving Animal Orchestra (The MIT Press).

Henkjan Honing's books and lectures are popular with a broad audience and are appreciated both inside and outside the scientific world.

For a recent interview, see Big Biology Podcast; For one in Dutch, see NRC; For a recent public lecture, see Science & Cocktails; For a recent review, see Current Biology; For an elaborate cv, see the UvA website.

Latest publications

Li, J., Baker, D. J., Burgoyne, J. A., & Honing, H. (2023). Is Pitch Information Indispensable for Music Recognition? A Pilot Study Based on a Musical Matching Pairs Game. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, 65–71.

Media attention

Baby’s hebben maatgevoel blijkt uit onderzoekParool
Pasgeboren baby's hebben van nature al maatgevoelBNR Nieuwsradio
BaYaka-vrouwen in Congo zingen als ze samenwerken – en dat maakt het bos blijNRC Handelsblad
De A12 als orkestbak; Extinction Rebellion zet muziek inDe Groene Amsterdammer
Hoe kun je beter leren zingen? ‘Verdiep je eerst in je eigen stem’De Morgen
Als het baasje rustig wordt van Mozart, geldt dat dan ook voor zijn huisdier?Algemeen Dagblad
Marathon interview met Henkjan HoningNPO1
Mooie muziek, maar waarom?VPRO Gids
Ieder mens kan muziek herkennen, maken en waarderenNewScientist
Is music an exclusively human thing? A new study says noNPR


Evolution of Language and Music
BSc Psychobiology6 ECTSCode: 5102EVTM6Y
How Music Works II: Music Cognition
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences (Research Master)6 ECTSCode: 5244HMWM6Y


Frans van Schaik
Biology, UvA2024
Matthias van der Vlist
Biology, UvA2024
Kate Schwarz
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2024
Parsa Jouyan
Music Studies, UvA2024
William Wells
Music Studies, UvA2024
Pablo Dumenil
ENSEA, Paris, F2023
Caroline Kellner
Master of Logic, UvA2023
Lot Wolters
MSc Psychology, RUG2022
Ivan Bobrov
MSc Computational Science, UvA2021
Joost de Fretes
BSc Artificial Intelligence, UvA2021
MSc Computational Science, UvA2020
Olivier Teerling
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2020
Milan Simas
MA Musicology, UvA2018
Sophie van Weeren
MA Musicology, UvA2018
Elke de Jong
MSc Biomedical Sciences, UvA2017
Eline Bekkers
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2017
Tiarma Witte
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2017
Iza Korsmit
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2016
Nelson Mooren
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2016
Yasmin Mzayek
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2016
Myrthe Knetemann
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2016
Carola Werner
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2016
Master of Logic, UvA2016
Tom Hendriks
Master of Logic, UvA2016
Annike Bekius
MSc Brain & Cognitive Sciences, UvA2015
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