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 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!
- 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.
Samuel MehrPrincipal Investigator (website)
Courtney HiltonPostdoctoral scholar
Mila BertoloLab Manager
Ghazal JessaniResearch Assistant
Joyce SeokUndergraduate Research Assistant
Cody MoserVisiting Graduate Student
Harry Lee-RubinUndergraduate Researcher
Brooke MiloshUndergraduate Researcher
Liam CrowleyUndergraduate Researcher
Rachel YanUndergraduate Research Assistant
Jing LiuUndergraduate Research Assistant
Judy LeeResearch Assistant
collaborators, past and present
- Quentin Atkinson
University of Auckland
- Amy Belfi
Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Pramit Chaudhuri
University of Texas, Austin
- Joseph Dexter
- Luke Glowacki
Pennsylvania State University
- Reyna Gordon
- Gina Grimshaw
Victoria University of Wellington
- David Haig
- Joshua Hartshorne
- Henkjan Honing
University of Amsterdam
- Daniel Ketter
Missouri State University
- Dean Knox
- Max Krasnow
- Christopher Lucas
Washington University in St. Louis
- Alia Martin
Victoria University of Wellington
- Daniel Müllensiefen
Goldsmiths, University of London
- Timothy O'Donnell
- Isabelle Peretz
Université de Montréal
- Steven Pinker
- Laurie Santos
- Adena Schachner
University of California, San Diego
- Elizabeth Spelke
- Manvir Singh
- Diana Tamir
- Sandra Trehub
University of Toronto, Mississauga
- Ellen Winner
- Beau Sievers
- Caitlyn Lee
We also work with many others on the Natural History of Song project: learn more at themusiclab.org/nhs.
Lab manager (2018-2019), currently a PhD student in Psychology at the Human Diversity Lab (Princeton University)
Research Assistant (2018-2020), currently a PhD student in Communication at UCLA, with Dr. Greg Bryant.
Research Fellow & Developer (2019-2020), currently a Master's student in Psychology and Behavioural Data Science at the University of Amsterdam.
Summer intern (2018), currently working in the North Kansas City public schools.
Research Fellow (2019-2020), currently a Research Master's student in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam.
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, Iris Bi, Kamila Czachorowski, Kelsie Lopez, Lin Ni, Mona Miao, Nathan Robinson, Nivi Ravi, Terry Lee, TJ Song, William Swett, and Yuefan Sun.
Evolution and Human Behavior
Response to vocal music in Angelman syndrome contrasts with Prader-Willi syndrome
Sight-over-sound judgments of music performances are replicable effects with limited interpretability
We do not have any open positions at present but if you are interested in applying to work with us as a volunteer during the academic year, please contact us at email@example.com.
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 (details here). Please get in touch with Dr. Mehr at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in applying.
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 email@example.com.