Prof. Dr. Marcel Zentner

Professor for Personality Psychology and Psychological Assessment


Marcel Zentner studied Psychology, Psychopathology and Philosophy at the University of Zurich. After receiving his PhD, he held professional positions at Harvard University, UC-Berkeley, the University of Geneva, and the University of York (GB). In 2013 he was appointed professor of personality psychology and assessment at University of Innsbruck. Zentner’s research interests are in the areas of personality development, psychological assessment, the psychology of mating, emotion and music.

His research has been published in the premier natural science journals Nature and the PNAS as well as in the leading psychology journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science. He is also the author of the Handbook of Temperament (Guilford Press), coedited with R. Shiner. Zentner’s research has been featured by BBC ONE, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, among others, and has received funding though the ESRC, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, and Google. 

2004 Habilitation in Psychology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
1996 Ph.D., University of Zurich
1992 Diploma (Licentiate) in Psychology, University Zurich
1986-1992 Studies in Psychology, Clinical Child Psychology, and Philosophy, University of Zurich and Harvard University
2014 Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Innsbruck
2008-2013 Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), Department of Psychology, University of York
2001-2007 SNF Professorship, University of Geneva
2003 Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley (Spring Term)
1996-2001 Maitre-Assistant, Geneva Emotion Research Group, University of Geneva
1994-1996 Post-Doctoral Associate, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Strauss, H., … & Zentner, M. (2024). The Emotion-to-Music Mapping Atlas (EMMA): A systematically organized online database of emotionally evocative music excerpts. Behavior Research Methods, 1-18. Advance online publication.

Strauss, H., Reiche, S., Dick, M., & Zentner, M. (2024). Online assessment of musical ability in 10 minutes: Development and validation of the Micro-PROMS. Behavior Research Methods, 56(3), 1968-1983.

Biedermann, V., & Zentner, M. (2024). Assessing temperament risk factors in late childhood and early adolescence: Development and validation of the Integrative Late Childhood Temperament Inventory. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. Advance online publication.

Vigl, J., & Zentner, M. (2023). How much does performance quality matter in musical emotion induction? Main effects and interaction effects with listener features. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication.

Vigl, J., Talamini, F., Strauss, H., & Zentner, M. (2023). A prospective study of relationship and sexual satisfaction during the first year of the COVID‐19 pandemic: The role of dispositional vulnerabilities and external stressors. Journal of Personality, 91(5), 1152-1170. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12790.

Zentner, M., & von Aufsess, C. (2022). Is being gender nonconforming distressing? It depends where you live: gender equality across 15 nations predicts how much gender nonconformity is related to self-esteem. Psychological Medicine, 52(10), 1857-1865. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720003645 .

Zentner, M. (2020). Identifying child temperament risk factors from 2 to 8 years of age: validation of a brief temperament screening tool in the US, Europe, and China. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29(5), 665-678. doi: 10.1007/s00787-019-01379-5.

Zentner, M. & Gingras, B. (2019). The assessment of musical ability and its determinants. In J. Rentfrow & D. Levitin (Eds.), Foundations in Music Psychology: Theory and Research (pp. 641-683). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Zentner, M., & Strauss, H. (2017). Assessing musical ability quickly and objectively: Development and validation of the Short-Proms and the Mini-PROMS. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1400, 33-45. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13410

Zentner, M., & Eagly, A. H. (2017). A sociocultural framework for understanding partner preferences of women and men: Integration of concepts and evidence. European Review of Social Psychology, 26, 328-273. doi: 10.1080/10463283.2015.1111599

Zentner, M. & Shiner, R. (2012). The Handbook of Temperament. New York: Guilford Press [Paperback edition, 2015].

Zentner, M. & Mitura, K. (2012). Stepping out of the caveman’s shadow: Nations’ gender gap predicts degree of sex differentiation in mate preferences. Psychological Science, 23, 1176-1185. doi: 10.1177/0956797612441004

Law, L. & Zentner, M. (2012). Assessing musical abilities objectively: Construction and validation of the profile of music perception skills. PLoS ONE 7 (12): e52508. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052508

Zentner, M. & Eerola, T. (2010). Rhythmic engagement with music in infancy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 107, 5568-5573. doi:  10.1073/pnas.1000121107

Zentner, M., Grandjean, D., & Scherer, K.R. (2008). Emotions evoked by the sound of music: Characterization, classification, and measurement. Emotion, 8, 494-521. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.8.4.494

Zentner, M., & Renaud, O. (2007). Origins of adolescents’ ideal self: An intergenerational perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 357-375. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.3.557


Co-I: “Humans and Recommender Systems: Towards a Mutual Understanding” FWF Austrian Science Fund


PI: Tagging online music contents for emotion. A systematic approach based on contemporary emotion research. ESRC: Research Grant ES/K00753X/1


Holbeck Foundation (Doctoral Studentship)


PI: “Assessing child-temperament across ages and cultures,” Swiss National Science Foundation Grant


PI: “Goodness-of-fit between parental aspirations and their children’s individual characteristics”: Jacobs Foundation Grant


PI: “Induction of emotion through music,” Swiss National Science Foundation Grant (with Klaus Scherer)


Swiss National Science Foundation Scholarship

Editor-in-Chief 2014-2019Frontiers in Personality and Social Psychology
Associate Editor  2011-2013Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences
Editorial Board 2008-presentInternational Journal of Developmental Science
Ad hoc Reviewer

Behavior Research Methods
British Journal of Psychology
Cognition and Emotion
Developmental Psychology
European Journal of Personality
Family Process

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Motivation and Emotion
Music Perception
Psychological Bulletin
Psychology of Music
Psychological Science

Psychological Review
Swiss Journal of Psychology
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Scientific Reports
Social Psychological and Personality Science
Zeitschrift fĂŒr Entwicklungs- und PĂ€dagogische Psychologie

Reviewer for Scientific Foundations

  • Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • European Commission. Future and Emerging Technologies
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK)
  • French National Science Foundation (Agence de Recherche Nationale)
  • Israel Science Foundation
  • Leverhulme Trust (UK)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Social Sciences)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)