Accessibility statement

Sarah Knight
Research Associate



  • 2008-13: PhD in Psychology of Music, University of Cambridge
  • 2007-8: MPhil in Musicology, University of Cambridge
  • 2004-7: BA (Hons) in Music, University of Cambridge

My doctoral work explored rhythmic entrainment in the context of music and speech, and its ability to direct attention, structure interactions, foster positive social judgements and induce attitude change. In particular, I focused on speech rhythm in political oratory, and its role in creating persuasiveness through providing a locus for listener entrainment.

My current research investigates the contribution of cognitive abilities to the perception of speech-in-noise across the lifespan, and the interaction of cognitive, sensory and acoustic factors during speech-in-noise listening. I am also interested in the trait judgements we make from voices (such as attractiveness and trustworthiness), and how these judgements influence the ways we interact with voices and their owners.


  • 2018-19: Vocal Communication Lab, Royal Holloway, University of London/University College London, UK
  • 2017-18: Centre for Mind in Society, Queen Mary University of London, UK
  • 2013-16: Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research (MRC IHR), University of Nottingham, UK



I am working on Prof Sven Mattys’ Leverhulme-funded project “Cognitive listening: investigating speech perception in noise within a cognitive framework”.

Research group(s)

  • Speech Lab
  • Psycholinguistics Research Group


Professor Sven Mattys


Selected publications

  • Knight, S., & Heinrich, A. (2018). Visual inhibition measures predict speech-in-noise perception only in people with low levels of education. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2779.
  • Knight, S., Lavan, N., Kanber, E. & McGettigan, C. (2018). The social code of speech prosody must be specific and generalizable. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 15(27) E6103.
  • Knight, S. & Heinrich, A. (2017) Different measures of auditory and visual Stroop interference and their relationship to speech intelligibility in noise. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 230.
  • Ross, B. & Knight, S. (2017) Reports of equitonic scale systems in African musical traditions and their implications for cognitive models of pitch organization. Musicae Scientiae (online first).
  • Knight, S., Spiro, N. & Cross, I. (2016) Look, listen and learn: Exploring effects of passive entrainment on social judgements of observed others. Psychology of Music 45(1), 99-115.
  • Heinrich, A. & Knight, S. (2016) The contribution of auditory and cognitive factors to intelligibility of words and sentences in noise. In P. van Dijk et al. (Eds.), Physiology, Psychoacoustics and Cognition in Normal and Impaired Hearing, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 894.
  • Heinrich, A., Knight, S. & Hawkins, S. (2015) Influences of word predictability and type of masker noise on intelligibility of sung text in live concerts. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(4), 2373-2386.

Contact details

Sarah Knight
Research Associate
Department of Psychology
University of York
Room PS/C203