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.”

Haley E. Kragness, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

Haley E. Kragness completed her PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the TEMPO Lab. Her research seeks to better understand human cognition and behavior by studying musical engagement, especially in early childhood. In her doctoral work, she developed a simple method of testing young children’s musical production, leading to insights about musical grouping and emotion understanding. Outside of the lab, Haley is an advocate for open access and scientific practices, an amateur flutist, and a cat enthusiast.

Angela Dou

Doctoral Student

Angela is a first-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

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.

Catherine Tan
Research Assistant
Catherine is an undergraduate student majoring in Music Education and minoring in Psychology at the University of Toronto. Upon her anticipated graduation in 2023, she hopes to continue to explore her interests in education, music cognition and musics’ influence on wellbeing. Beyond her studies, she enjoys performing and teaching music, baking and traveling.
Faith Anantharajan

Thesis Student

Faith is currently a student at University of Toronto Scarborough who is pursuing a Specialist in Mental Health alongside a Minor in French. She is passionate about children and adolescent mental health and hopes to continue working with them in her career. Academics aside, you will find Faith gaming, reading, playing piano, or trying to figure out how to get back into violin. Music has always been a large part of her life and Faith will always find a way to fit music into whatever she is doing, making the TEMPO lab the perfect place for her to be at!

Areeba Qureshi

Research Assistant

Areeba is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto (St. George) pursuing a specialist in Neuroscience and a major in Biochemistry. She is passionate about understanding the nuances of neuroplasticity, and after teaching her younger brother to play the keyboard, is very interested in how young children learn. Outside academics, Areeba also likes to bake, play the guitar, read books and travel.

Irene Guerrero
Research AssistantI am Irene, a second year student at UTSC pursuing a double major in neuroscience and human bioloy. My interest in music cognition and my desire to contribute to this research domain stem from my background as a musician. I attended a music school for 10 years and learned to play the double bass and the piano, although now I only play as a hobby. In my leisure time, I like learning gymnastics tricks and trying all different kinds of sports.
Nekeisha Jean-Baptiste
Research AssistantNekeisha is currently a third-year student at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) specializing in psychology. She is interested in understanding the cognitive and emotional development in children. In the future, Nekeisha hopes to work with children and families in a clinical setting. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, listening to music, and singing!
Aghilan Aiyadurai
Research AssistantAghilan is currently a third-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in psychology. He is interested in further examining various facets of children’s socio-emotional development (e.g., children’s understanding of race and group membership, the socialization of children’s emotions, etc.). In his free time, Aghilan loves reading, playing soccer, and working out!
Emma Chan
Lab Associate
Emma recently completed her BSc (Hons) as a Mental Health Studies Specialist and is currently applying to graduate programs in Clinical Psychology. Her interests focus on child development, particularly ways to make growing up less difficult, and she is committed to intersectional approaches combining evidence-based interventions with individual client preferences. She has worked on a variety of research projects, both individual and collaborative, and is currently preparing her thesis manuscript for peer review.After obtaining her PhD, she hopes to provide mental health support to children and families. In her free time Emma can be found exploring Toronto neighbourhoods with her wife and dogs, eating gelato, and doing statistical analyses for fun!


Past Members

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