Music, Audiences, Neuroscience, Cognition and Society (MANCS)

The MANCS research centre’s disciplines include brain imaging, music performance and psychology, psychoacoustics and sound engineering and musical performance.

MANCS brings together researchers from four leading institutions of higher education: University of Manchester, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester Metropolitan University, and University of Salford.

The group was formed in 2018 to carry out cross-disciplinary research on music, audience, neuroscience, cognition and to look at their applications to society.

MANCS is motivated to particularly challenge the perhaps traditional view of western classical music performance as a one-way process in which audiences tend to be passive, and to explore two-way interactions between performers and audience members.

Its overarching objectives fall into three categories:


  • To establish a world class creative research laboratory (dance, drama, music, comedy, debates etc), enabling ecologically valid research in a technologically sophisticated state-of-the-art performance space.
  • To examine the behaviours, neurological responses and emotional reactions of performers and audience members during live performance.


  • To study the complex responses (behavioural, physiological, neurological, emotional, kinaesthetic) that occur in performance environments, using a variety of concurrent and technologically world-leading measures.
  • To find out how performance spaces can best cater for those with additional needs and conditions, including needs across the lifespan and across social and economic demographics.
  • To create a cutting-edge performance training environment, enabling all aspects of performance (including performance anxiety) to be explored under naturalistic performance conditions.


  • To understand the social aspects of creativity in performer-audience interaction, and links between creativity, interaction, and well-being in the general population.
  • To place the general public at the centre of research, thereby improving the communication of performance science and increasing public engagement in scientific research.

MANCS Team (in alphabetical order)