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 BAHons, MPhil, PhD

Music perception, musical imagery and emotional responses to music


Michael Pitman

Dr Michael Pitman completed honours degrees in Applied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand before reading for an M.Phil in Philosophy at Cambridge University. Michael returned from the UK in 1998 to take up a position in the Department of Psychology at Wits, where he is currently a Senior Lecturer. He completed his PhD in philosophy part-time at Wits in 2011.



Michael’s research interests lie at the intersection between psychology, philosophy and neuroscience. He has published papers on consciousness, the philosophy of psychopathology, psychoanalysis, free will, agency, imagination, and teaching and learning. His current research interests include: differential susceptibility and sensory sensitivity; psychology of music; sound; the philosophy of psychopathology; technology in teaching and learning; imagination; and experience-sampling methodologies.

Michael is a founding member of the Wits Brain & Cognition Lab, and played a central role in establishing the hardware and software backbone of this computer-based research space. Michael’s primary interests in the Brain & Cognition Lab relate to studies in the psychology of music (musical imagery; uses and effects of background music; emotional responses to music) and technology in teaching and learning (especially the use and efficacy of, and attitudes towards, digital technologies in teaching and learning).


Geffen, T. and Pitman, M. (in press). The repeated-measures factorial design: Exploring working memory interactions in earworms. In S. Laher, S. Kramer & A. Fynn (eds). Social science methods: research and application. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.


Pitman, M.M. (2014). Mental disorders, brain disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders: challenges for the philosophy of psychopathology after DSM-5. South African Journal of Philosophy, 33, 131-144.


Pitman, M.M. (2013). Mental states, processes, and conscious intent in Libet’s experiments. South African Journal of Philosophy, 32, 71-89.


Pitman, M.M. (2012). Freedom, indeterminism, and imagination. South African Journal of Philosophy, 31, 369-383.


Israel, N., Pitman, M. & Greyling, M. (2007). Engaging critical thinking: Lessons from the RDA tutorials and projects. South African Journal of Psychology, 37, 375-382.

Laher, S., Israel, N., & Pitman, M. (2007). Teaching research and statistics at undergraduate level: The RDA Tutorial Programme. South African Journal of Psychology, 37, 368-374.


Pitman, M.M. (2003). Eliminative Materialism and the Integrity of Science. South African Journal of Philosophy, 22, 207-219.

Pitman, M.M. (2003). Consciousness Studies: Research prospects in the ‘Cradle of Human Consciousness.’ Alternation, 10, 271-291.


Pitman, M.M. (2002). Psychotherapy is Delicate Psychosurgery. South African Journal of Psychology, 32, 1-8.


Louw, F. & Pitman, M.M. (2001). Irreducible subjectivity and interactionism: a critique. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82, 747-766.

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