Participate with your baby!
In the coming months we will be recruiting expecting parents and parents with babies for science research about infants and music.
You can participate from anywhere in the world! If you would like us to contact you when we have a study for you to participate in, sign up with your contact details below.
If you are reading this, you are probably doing so on a device that plays music. You are probably able to hear and understand that music. You probably can also produce music of your own, even if you've never had music lessons. You probably engage with music on a regular basis, regardless of your cultural background, location in the world, or socioeconomic status. You have probably been this way your whole life.
In the Music Lab, we're figuring out why the human mind is designed in such a way that all of the above is true. We do basic cognitive science experiments with many different populations and with people who live all over the world, including in small-scale societies. We also work on large corpus studies of ethnographies and field recordings from the Natural History of Song project, which we host.
The Music Lab is based jointly at the University of Auckland (in New Zealand, as a part of the School of Psychology) and Yale University (in New Haven, as a part of the Yale Child Study Center).
On this site, you can learn more about us and about our work, read our papers, and participate in experiments online!
- Our cross-cultural research on infant-directed speech and song was covered on the front page of the New York Times, on the TODAY show, and in many other spots worldwide.
- We've moved — after 5 years at Harvard, we have transitioned our citizen-science platform to Yale University and our brick-and-mortar lab to the University of Auckland (New Zealand).
- Our paper "Infants relax in response to unfamiliar foreign lullabies" is out in Nature Human Behaviour - thank you to all the families that helped make this project possible!
- Our new Natural History of Song paper is out in Science!
Samuel MehrPrincipal Investigator (website)
Courtney HiltonPostdoc (Research Fellow)
Logan JamesAffiliated Postdoc
Lidya YurdumResearch Assistant
Ekanem EbinneResearch Assistant
Mila BertoloGraduate Student
Marty SnarskisGraduate student
Zoé SchelpGraduate Student
Sorour ZekratiGraduate Student
Gage Quigley-TumpGraduate Student
Pip BrownVisiting PhD Student
Estelle LaiHonours student
Jan SimsonAffiliated Graduate Student
collaborators, past and present
- Quentin Atkinson
University of Auckland
- Amy Belfi
Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Aaron Benjamin
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Pramit Chaudhuri
University of Texas, Austin
- Charlie Chubb
- Joseph Dexter
- Joshua Fiechter
- Luke Glowacki
- Reyna Gordon
- Gina Grimshaw
Victoria University of Wellington
- David Haig
- Gregory Hickok
- Joshua Hartshorne
- Daniel Ketter
Missouri State University
- Dean Knox
University of Pennsylvania
- Max Krasnow
- Caitlyn Lee
- Christopher Lucas
Washington University in St. Louis
- Alia Martin
Victoria University of Wellington
- Solena Mednicoff
University of Nevada Las Vegas
- Daniel Müllensiefen
Goldsmiths, University of London
- Timothy O'Donnell
- Isabelle Peretz
Université de Montréal
- Steven Pinker
- Disa Sauter
University of Amsterdam
- Adena Schachner
University of California, San Diego
- Beau Sievers
- Manvir Singh
University of California, Davis
- Elizabeth Spelke
- Diana Tamir
- Sandra Trehub (d. 2023)
University of Toronto, Mississauga
- Sebastian Waz
- Ellen Winner
We also work with many others on the Natural History of Song project: learn more at themusiclab.org/nhs.
Affiliated grad student (2020-2022), currently a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Michigan.
Affiliated grad student (2020-2023), currently a PhD student at Columbia University.
Affiliated grad student (2018-2022), currently a PhD student in Cognitive and Information Sciences the University of California, Merced, working in the Smaldino Lab.
Honours student (2019-2021), currently a PhD student in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington.
Lab manager (2019-2021) and summer intern (2018), currently a PhD student in Neuroscience at McGill University, working in the Sakata Lab
Lab manager (2018-2019), currently a PhD student in Psychology at the Human Diversity Lab at Princeton University.
Research Assistant (2018-2020), currently a PhD student in Communication at the University of California, Los Angeles, working with Greg Bryant.
Summer intern (2018), currently working in the North Kansas City public schools.
Language experience predicts music processing in a half-million speakers of fifty-four languages
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Across demographics and recent history, most parents sing to their infants and toddlers daily
If you are interested in PhD study in our lab, please contact Dr Mehr at firstname.lastname@example.org with an expression of interest and a CV. We can support PhD applicants at the University of Auckland (in New Zealand) or at Yale, either in Psychology (if working jointly with a Psychology faculty member) or via the Child Study Center. Please note that funding for PhD study is competitive and may not be guaranteed, depending on the particulars of your application.
We do not currently have any open positions for full-time, salaried research assistants, but are able to host part-time RAs working in New Zealand or New Haven. If you are interested in such a position, for hourly pay; or if you would like to apply to work with us for academic credit (at the University of Auckland or at Yale) or work-study (at Yale), please contact us at email@example.com. In general, we do not recruit volunteers, with the exception of students who are sponsored by their home institution to do an internship with us.
If you are a member of an underrepresented group in research, and interested in joining us, we can help you get funded with an NIH Diversity Supplement. Please get in touch with Dr. Mehr at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in applying.