TEMPO Lab Fall 2023



Laura Cirelli, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Cirelli received her PhD in psychology from McMaster University. She began directing the TEMPO lab at the University of Toronto, Scarborough in 2018. Her previous research explored how musical activities promote infant prosociality, and how parental song regulates both parent and infant emotional responses. These findings have been featured on David Suzuki’s “The Nature of Things” and National Public Radio’s “Hidden Brain.”

Angela Dou
PhD Candidate

Angela is a second-year PhD student in experimental psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her research interests focus on the intersection between developmental psychology and music engagement among young children. She is especially interested in how parental cues affect song familiarity, and in turn how song recognition affects attentive, emotional, and kinetic expression in infancy. Outside of the lab, Angela enjoys playing the piano, swimming, and watching sci-fi movies.

Matt Eitel, MSc
Lab Coordinator Matt completed his MSc in the Music, Mind and Brain program at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. His main research interests focus on the perception of chord progressions and how we interpret harmonic content in music. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing the classical guitar, reading about history, and pondering anything related to music theory.
Rashmi de Silva Wijeyeratne
Thesis Student
Rashmi is a fourth year at UTSC specializing in Psychology with Co-op. She is a thesis and work-study student at the TEMPO Lab. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, performing in musical theatre & theatre productions, travelling, hiking, babysitting, being an emergency medical responder, photography and skating. While an avid lover of the Arts, she is in pursuit of a career within the field of Healthcare which she is extremely passionate about.
Alexander Withers
Research Assistant

Alexander is currently a third-year student at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) specializing in Mental Health Studies with a Minor in Literature and Film Studies. He is interested in better understanding the complexities of cognitive development and mental health in children and adolescents. In his free time, Alexander enjoys watching movies, playing basketball, and listening to podcasts.

Alecsandra Usachov
Thesis StudentAlecsandra is an undergraduate student at UTSC pursing a specialist degree in psychology and a minor in music and culture. Upon her graduation in 2023, she is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology. Her research interests include musical cognition and affective mind tasks in children. She is currently completing her undergraduate thesis at the TEMPO lab and working alongside the cognitive neuropsychology laboratory on campus as a lab manager.
Hayah Siddiqui
Project StudentHayah is a second-year student pursuing the Specialist Mental Health Studies program. In the future, she wishes to learn more about the experiences of children with disabilities in order to support their unique needs and challenges. In her free time, she loves to read psychological thrillers, watch true crime, and hang out with friends!
Kaynaat Abrar
Project StudentKaynaat is a second-year student completing her BSc pursuing Psychological and Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is interested in how different exposures to music play a role in the development of children. She enjoys working with young children and is passionate about creating safe spaces for diverse communities. Aside from academics, Kaynaat enjoys making jewelry, listening to music, and participating in outdoor activities.
Julia Lo
Project StudentJulia is a fifth-year student completing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience, Psychology and Music & Culture. She is curious about how music may impact family dynamics and prosociality, particularly through a lens of culture. She is also interested in neuroimaging and hopes to further explore these topics in future studies. Outside of the lab, Julia loves to play the piano, sing in choir, and try new things!
Grace Qiu
Research StudentGrace is in her third-year at the University of Toronto completing the Music Education Specialist Program and a certificate in Music and Health. She aspires to pursue graduate studies in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis on assisting musicians and children. In addition to learning, Grace enjoys running in nature, writing cards to friends, and trying a variety of London Fogs at new cafes.
Tasnim Anzar
Research AssistantTasnim is a 4th year Psychology major with minors in Philosophy and Film Studies. She is interested in bridging her chosen fields through music and understanding its emotional, social, and cognitive effects from an early age. She loves to sing, play the guitar, watch movies, and participate in new hobbies outside of academics and work!

Past Members

Haley Kragness, Post-doc Fellow 2019-2022

Catherine Tan, Research Assistant, Thesis Student 2021-2023

Jerlene Pandian, Research Assistant 2023

Brianna Wedderburn, Research Assistant 2022-2023

Makeda Ralph, Research Assistant 2023

Nekeisha Jean-Baptiste, Research Assistant 2021-2023

David Wang, Research Assistant 2022-2023

Areeba Qureshi, Research Assistant 2020-2022

Irene Guerrero, Research Assistant 2021-2022

Aghilan Aiyadurai, Research Assistant 2021-2022

Emma Chan, Volunteer 2021-2022

Arooba Mansoor, Thesis Student 2021-2022

Faith Anantharajan, Thesis Student 2021-2022

Farhat Ullah, Project Student 2020-2021

Parjanya Parikh, Project Student 2020-2021

Hanqi Chen, Project Student 2020-2021

Jeffnie Fernando, Project Student 2020-2021

Anusha Dath, Research Assistant 2020-2021

Mikayla Samuel, Lab Coordinator 2020, Research Assistant 2021

Idila Yogeswaran, Research Assistant 2019-2021

Marisa Oliveros, Research Assistant 2019-2021

Sydney Chiu, Research Assistant 2020-2021

Fatima Ali, Research Assistant 2020

Calpanaa Jegatheeswaran, Project Student 2019-2020

Deepika Elango, Lab Manager 2018-2019

Ella Lawrence, Research Assistant 2018-2019

Esther Chow, Summer Intern 2020

Heala Maudoodi, Project Student 2019-2020

Joey Ball, Summer Intern 2020

Julia Santiago, Project Student 2019-2020, Research Assistant Summer 2019

Kevin Naismith, Volunteer 2019

Labeeb Talukder

Lanyi Lin, Lab Coordinator 2019-2020

Laiba Rizwan

Lucy Anderson, Summer Intern 2020

Mishal Dar

Neena Jegandran, Thesis Student 2019-2020

Rachel Moses, Summer Intern 2020

Rachel Peiris, Thesis Student 2019-2020, Project Student 2018-2019

Saghar Baqizada, Research Assistant 2018-2020

Sangavi Sivananthan

Sankeetha Kathir, Project Student 2020

Shreya Jha