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McMaster Infant Studies Group

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 text books. 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...


  • 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.


We know all this from research! 

If you are interested in getting involved with infancy and child research at McMaster,
please contact us.


Complete a 2 minute survey to participate in our research studies



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.


Auditory Development Lab 2017 Participants Newsletter  



Louis Schmidt, Director


Sadie Neufeld, 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

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. 




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.




Visual Development Lab


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. 


Interested in participating?

Click here