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About us

At McMaster University, we study how babies learn to see, hear, speak, and interact with other people. Infants and their parents have been participating in these studies at McMaster for over 30 years now, and the research from these studies is widely quoted in medical journals, parenting magazines, and textbooks. Parents are with their babies at all times and the studies are designed to be easy, short and fun. Free parking is provided and siblings are always welcome.

McMaster University researchers have discovered from research...

Babies would rather look at faces than anything else

Infants can tell red, yellow, and green from grey at birth, but not blue

Attending interactive music classes for infants enhances brain and social development

Babies prefer happy faces to any other facial emotion

Upcoming Studies

Visual Preference Studies for 2-14 month-olds See study poster

The Baby Lab (vision studies) at McMaster University is looking for local 2 to 14 month-old babies to participate in a variety of in-person studies!

We are investigating the role of emotional vocal sounds and music/different faces and languages/visual preferences and face processing.

If you’re interested in participating in one of our studies, or have any questions, please contact

See the attached posters for more details.

Musical Preference Study (7-18 month-olds) See Study Poster

The Auditory Development Lab is looking for 7- to 18-month-olds to participate in our on-campus musical preference study.

We are interested in whether infants show the same preference for rhythms in music as adults and older children.  In this study, your baby will be able to tell us what types of rhythms they prefer by choosing different musical rhythms they listen to using a touchscreen tablet!

This study will help us understand how the perception of musical rhythm develops in infants.

If you and your child are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact Dr. Daniel Cameron ( or Monica Morrone-Sanchez (

Too young for our study? Contact us anyways! We would love to add your child to our database and let you know when your child reaches an age we are looking for!

Parent-Child Interactions (4-8 month-olds)

We are starting a new sound perception study for 6-month-old infants investigating early social interactions and how they’re involved in development. One of the ways we study this is by measuring eye movements. To do this, you and your child’s eye movements will be recorded while you interact with each other. You will be asked to sing to, talk to, and/or quietly interact with your child. To measure your eye movements, you will be asked to wear glasses with eye-trackers built into them. Your infant will wear a headband that holds the eye-trackers in place on the bridge of their nose. We ask that you bring your child in their car seat. During the study, the car seat will be placed on a sturdy table and always monitored by a research assistant. You will sit across from your child, facing them, for the duration of the study.

This study would involve one/two visit(s) to McMaster and each session/visit will last between 30-60 minutes.

If you are interested in participating in one of our Music Studies or would like more information, please contact me at or at my phone number, (506) 478-2029.

Rhythm Perception Study for 6-15 month-olds See study poster

The Baby Lab (vision studies) at McMaster University is looking for local 6 to 15 month-old babies to participate in a variety of in-person studies!

We’re investigating how musical beats are represented in 6-15 month-old infants’ brains. To do this, we will use a neuroimaging tool called fIRS to get a peek at the activity in your child’s brain.

If you’re interested in participating in one of our studies, or have any questions, please contact

See the attached posters for more details.

Online Visual Preference Study for 6-14 month-olds See study poster

The Baby Lab (vision studies) at McMaster University is looking for 6 to 14 month-old babies to participate online for a study!

Sign up to participate in a fun online study in the McMaster Baby Lab!

We are investigating whether 6 to 14-month-old infants can learn to perceive human faces of different races categorically. Your child will watch as faces of different races appear on a computer screen.

If you’re interested in participating in our study, or have any questions, please contact

See the attached poster for more details.

Online Movement Study See Study Poster

The Auditory Development Lab at McMaster University is looking for enthusiastic 9- to 12-year-olds to participate in an online movement study! Your child will learn a simple step-clap movement and we will record videos while they clap along to various sounds and songs. This study will be conducted entirely online through the platform LookIt and will only take approximately 35 minutes. Your child will need a clear space to move in and access to a computer with a webcam. To register your child, please create a LookIt profile using the QR code above or use the following link: Our study can be found under the title “Children’s Step Clap” or at Participants will be compensated with a $5 Amazon gift card! If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Learn More About our Researchers

Auditory Development Lab Learn More

Dr. Laurel J. Trainor, Director

Susan Marsh-Rollo, Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x27114,

Elaine Whiskin, Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x24797

Under the direction of Dr. Laurel Trainor, the Auditory Development Lab studies how infants hear and respond to speech and music. We are interested in what auditory skills infants possess, how these skills develop, and how we can develop measures to identify children in early infancy who may be at risk for later language or reading problems.

The Baby Lab (Visual Development) Learn More

Dr. Gabriel(Naiqi) Xiao, Director

Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x 23130

Dr. Gabriel (Naiqi) Xiao is studying how infants’ cognitive capacities are shaped by what they see and what they hear in everyday lives. Understanding such mechanisms that drives development will help us detect atypical development at early stages of life.

Social Development and Autism Lab Learn More

Dr. Mel Rutherford, Director

Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x26032

Dr. Mel Rutherford is interested in how children learn about the social world around them and how they develop the skills needed to be a part of it, as well as early markers of autism. If your baby has a sibling diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, you are eligible for our early autism study! This research will help us develop a fast and easy screening tool for autism in a child’s first year.

Child Emotion Lab Learn More

Dr. Louis Schmidt, Director

Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x24798

Babies experience all the primary emotions of joy, anger and fear during the first months of life. Because the ability to regulate emotions plays an important role in development during infancy and early school years, Dr. Louis Schmidt’s Child Emotion Lab studies how babies regulate their emotions.

Developmental Neuroscience Lab Learn More

Dr. Geoff Hall, Director

Research Assistant
905-525-9140 x24784

The activities of the Developmental Neuroscience lab focus on conducting multidisciplinary research in the rapidly growing field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. By studying the neurological mechanisms that underlie changes in cognitive and affective function across development we hope to improve our understanding of both typical and atypical development.