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Professor Siu-Lan Tan

Dr. Siu-Lan Tan is the James A.B. Stone Professor of Psychology at Kalamazoo College. She earned degrees in music and piano before attending Purdue University, Oxford University, and Georgetown University to complete an MA and PhD in psychology.

Dr. Tan specializes in the psychology of music, and is particularly interested in the role of music in film and other multimedia. She is co-author of Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance (newest edition Routledge 2018), co-editor of The Psychology of Music in Multimedia (Oxford University Press 2013) and is currently working on The Oxford Handbook of Music and Advertising (Oxford University Press, forthcoming Jan/Feb 2021).

Her research has been published in Music Perception, Psychology of Music, Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, Empirical Musicology Review and Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, among other journals (See Books and Publications).

She also appears in the New York Times Critics’ Pick, Score: A Film Music Documentary to give the psychological perspective on music in film, and had a regular segment on Score: The Podcast. (See Films)

Since 1998, Dr. Tan has taught courses in Developmental Psychology (her other area of training), Social Development, Music Psychology, and Creativity, at Kalamazoo College. Her Developmental Psychology and Social Development courses include a community-based component, as her students have worked with children at local elementary schools and playgrounds for over 20 years (See Teaching). She feels lucky to have such bright, engaged, enthusiastic students–tomorrow’s enlightened leaders.

She has received her institution’s awards for sabbatical research, teaching, academic advising and in 2006, an award from the Michigan chapter of the national Campus Compact for civic engagement pedagogy. Most recently, she was honored with an Endowed Chair as the James AB Stone College Professor (2018-2025).


Dr. Siu-Lan Tan is blissfully married to her college sweetheart Danny Kim. She loves noodles, sticky notes, pop-up books, music, film, teaching and continuing to learn new stuff. She is hopeless at cooking and has yet to learn how to parallel park.