Visit the Music Lab with your baby!
We are now recruiting babies age 2 to 12 months for science research about the world's music. In the study, babies listen to songs while we measure their heart rate, pupil dilation, gaze, motion, and more!
We are conveniently located on Harvard's Cambridge campus, with free parking, and you can take home a Music Lab onesie or other cool prizes as a thank-you gift.
Please note that we are not currently running in-person studies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can still sign up to participate in future studies with your baby — we'll contact you when our in-person studies are back in operation.
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 in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. On this site, you can learn more about us and about our work, read our papers, and participate in experiments online!
- Our new Natural History of Song paper is out in Science!
- New open-access paper about open science & reproducibility, "Sight-over-sound judgments of music performances are replicable effects with limited interpretability" is published in PLOS ONE.
- Our paper "Form and Function in Human Song" is published in Current Biology and has garnered attention from The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Economist, Smithsonian Magazine, NPR, and more!
- Our PI, Samuel Mehr, is the recipient of an NIH Director's Early Independence Award! Read more in the Harvard Gazette.
- New paper "Genomic Imprinting is Implicated in the Psychology of Music" is published in Psychological Science.
Samuel MehrPrincipal Investigator (website)
Mila BertoloLab Manager
Constance BainbridgeDeveloper / Research Assistant (website)
Jan SimsonDeveloper / Research Fellow (website)
Lidya YurdumResearch Fellow
Ghazal JessaniResearch Assistant
Joyce SeokUndergraduate Research Assistant
Yuefan SunResearch Assistant
Cody MoserVisiting Graduate Student
Harry Lee-RubinUndergraduate Researcher
Brooke MiloshUndergraduate Researcher
Liam CrowleyUndergraduate Researcher
We are proud to work with many fantastic people in cognitive science, psychology, music, anthropology, linguistics, computer science, political science, and more. Click the images below to learn more about our collaborators!
Natural History of Song team
We work with many contributors and collaborators on the Natural History of Song project: learn more at naturalhistoryofsong.org.
Lab manager (2018-2019), currently a PhD student in Psychology at the Social Cognitive Development Lab (University of Washington)
Summer intern (2018), currently an MA student in Psychology at the Infant Studies Centre (University of British Columbia)
We've also been incredibly lucky to work with many fantastic research assistants, including Alma Bitran, Anna Bergson, Anya Keomurjian, Dara Lee, Dylan Xing, Emilė Radytė, Hannah Alton, Kamila Czachorowski, Kelsie Lopez, Lin Ni, Mona Miao, Nathan Robinson, Nivi Ravi, Terry Lee, TJ Song, and William Swett.
Evolution and Human Behavior
Response to vocal music in Angelman syndrome contrasts with Prader-Willi syndrome
We are currently recruiting a postdoctoral fellow and a full-time research assistant. Please visit tinyurl.com/musiclabpostdoc or tinyurl.com/musiclabRA20 to apply. The application to our summer internship is now closed.
If you are interested in applying to work with us as a volunteer during the academic year, please contact us at email@example.com.
Dr. Mehr is not currently accepting full-time graduate students, but if you are applying to graduate school and are interested in collaborating as a co-supervised graduate student (either at Harvard or at another university), please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.