Laura K Cirelli

Laura K Cirelli
University of Toronto | U of T

B.A, Ph.D.

About

46
Publications
17,624
Reads
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1,211
Citations
Citations since 2017
38 Research Items
1105 Citations
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Introduction
I am an assistant professor in Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. My research explores how musical engagement affects social-emotional development. I am also interested in the development of rhythm perception and production across infancy and early childhood. To address these questions, I use a combination of behavioural and physiological (EEG, skin conductance) measures.
Additional affiliations
July 2018 - present
University of Toronto Scarborough
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2016 - July 2018
University of Toronto Mississauga
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2011 - August 2016
McMaster University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (46)
Article
Full-text available
Adults who move together to a shared musical beat synchronously as opposed to asynchronously are subsequently more likely to display prosocial behaviors toward each other. The development of musical behaviors during infancy has been described previously, but the social implications of such behaviors in infancy have been little studied. In Experimen...
Article
Full-text available
Infants typically experience music through social interactions with others. One such experience involves caregivers singing to infants while holding and bouncing them rhythmically. These highly social interactions shape infant music perception and may also influence social cognition and behavior. Moving in time with others—interpersonal synchrony—c...
Chapter
Musicality, a uniquely human and spontaneously developing trait that enables us to perceive music, move to it, and sing, is influenced by biological, cognitive, and cultural factors (Honing, ten Cate, Peretz & Trehub, 2015; Trehub, Becker, & Morley, 2015). Not surprisingly, it is expressed differently across the lifespan. In this chapter, we focus...
Article
Mothers around the world sing to infants, presumably to regulate their mood and arousal. Lullabies and playsongs differ stylistically and have distinctive goals. Mothers sing lullabies to soothe and calm infants and playsongs to engage and excite infants. In this study, mothers repeatedly sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to their infants (n = 30...
Article
Full-text available
Rhythmic movement to music, whether deliberate (e.g., dancing) or inadvertent (e.g., foot-tapping), is ubiquitous. Although parents commonly report that infants move rhythmically to music, especially to familiar music in familiar environments, there has been little systematic study of this behavior. As a preliminary exploration of infants' movement...
Preprint
Music is a highly effective medium for communicating emotional states. Perception of musical emotions is influenced by cues for intensity, such as tempo and loudness, which are readily identified across cultures. Emotion perception is also influenced by cues for the valence, which in Western music is largely communicated through major versus minor...
Preprint
Among our most powerful experiences are those we share with others. Researchers have increasingly sought to investigate responses to socially potent stimuli, such as music, in contexts that are more naturalistic than a traditional psychology lab. Here, we investigated behavioral and physiological responses to either a live concert or a perceptually...
Article
Full-text available
When interacting with infants, humans often alter their speech and song in ways thought to support communication. Theories of human child-rearing, informed by data on vocal signalling across species, predict that such alterations should appear globally. Here, we show acoustic differences between infant-directed and adult-directed vocalizations acro...
Article
Many of our most powerful musical experiences are shared with others, and researchers have increasingly investigated responses to music in group contexts. Though musical performances for infants are growing in popularity, most research on infants’ responses to live music has focused on solitary caregiver‐infant pairs. Here, we report infants’ atten...
Article
Around the world, musical engagement frequently involves movement. Most adults easily clap or sway to a wide range of tempos, even without formal musical training. The link between movement and music emerges early-young infants move more rhythmically to music than speech, but do not reliably align their movements to the beat. Laboratory work encour...
Preprint
Around the world, musical engagement frequently involves movement. Most adults easily clap or sway to a wide range of tempos, even without formal musical training. The link between movement and music emerges early –young infants move more rhythmically to music than speech, but do not reliably align their movements to the beat. Laboratory work encou...
Preprint
The drive to move to music is evident across a variety of contexts, from the simple urge to tap our toe to a song on the radio, to massive crowds dancing in time at a rock concert. Though seemingly effortless, beat synchronization is difficult to master and children are often poor beat synchronizers. Nevertheless, auditory-motor integration is fund...
Article
The drive to move to music is evident across a variety of contexts, from the simple urge to tap our toe to a song on the radio, to massive crowds dancing in time at a rock concert. Though seemingly effortless, beat synchronization is difficult to master and children are often poor beat synchronizers. Nevertheless, auditory‐motor integration is fund...
Presentation
Full-text available
Cette recension systématique des écrits a été présentée dans le cadre du congrès de la Société Québécoise de Recherche en Psychologie (13-15 octobre 2021).
Preprint
Many of our most powerful musical experiences are shared with others, and researchers have increasingly investigated responses to music in group contexts. Though musical performances for infants are growing in popularity, most research on infants’ responses to live music has focused on solitary caregiver-infant pairs. Here, we report infants’ atten...
Article
Full-text available
Families with young children with and without developmental disabilities often create a musically rich home environment. Parent-child music engagement, like singing play songs, is associated with positive outcomes for children, parents, and their relationship. However, little is known about if the home music environment differs across diagnostic gr...
Article
Full-text available
Parent's infant‐directed vocalizations are highly dynamic and emotive compared to their adult‐directed counterparts, and correspondingly, more effectively capture infants’ attention. Infant‐directed singing is a specific type of vocalization that is common throughout the world. Parents tend to sing a small handful of songs in a stereotyped way, and...
Preprint
Evaluating others’ actions as praiseworthy or blameworthy is a fundamental aspect of human nature. A seminal study published in 2007 suggested that the ability to form social evaluations based on third-party interactions emerges within the first year of life, considerably earlier than previously thought (Hamlin, Wynn, & Bloom, 2007). In this study,...
Preprint
Parent’s infant-directed vocalizations are highly dynamic and emotive compared to their adult-directed counterparts, and correspondingly, more effectively capture infants’ attention. Infant-directed singing is a specific type of vocalization that is common throughout the world. Parents tend to sing a small handful of songs in a stereotyped way, and...
Article
The development of human abilities stems from a complex interplay between genetic predispositions and environmental factors. Numerous studies have compared musicians with non‐musicians on measures of musical and non‐musical ability, frequently attributing musicians’ superior performance to their training. By ignoring preexisting differences, howeve...
Preprint
Full-text available
Families with young children with and without developmental disabilities often engage in musical experiences in the home. These parent-child musical activities are associated with positive outcomes for children and parents and may be a context to help foster strong parent-child relationships. However, little is known about how musical experiences d...
Article
Full-text available
Synchronized movements are often key elements in activities where social bonding and emotional connection are a shared goal, such as religious gatherings, sporting events, parties, and weddings. Previous studies have shown that synchronous movements enhance prosocial attitudes and affiliative behaviors. Similarly, observers attribute more social cl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Across taxa, the forms of vocal signals are shaped by their functions. In humans, a salient context of vocal signaling is infant care, as human infants are altricial. Humans often produce "parent-ese", speech and song for infants that differ acoustically from ordinary speech and song, in fashions that are thought to support parent-infant communicat...
Preprint
Infants typically experience music through social interactions with others. One such experience involves caregivers singing to infants while holding and bouncing them rhythmically. These highly social interactions shape infant music perception and may also influence social cognition and behavior. Moving in time with others-interpersonal synchrony-c...
Preprint
Many scholars consider preferences for consonance, as defined by Western music theorists, to be based primarily on biological factors, while others emphasize experiential factors, notably the nature of musical exposure. Cross-cultural experiments suggest that consonance preferences are shaped by musical experience, implying that preferences should...
Preprint
Parents commonly vocalize to infants to mitigate their distress, especially when holding them is not possible. Here we examined the relative efficacy of parents’ speech and singing (familiar and unfamiliar songs) in alleviating the distress of 8- and 10-month-old infants (n = 68 per age group). Parent–infant dyads participated in 3 trials of the St...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological scientists have become increasingly concerned with issues related to methodology and replicability, and infancy researchers in particular face specific challenges related to replicability: For example, high-powered studies are difficult to conduct, testing conditions vary across labs, and different labs have access to different infant...
Article
Full-text available
Parents commonly vocalize to infants to mitigate their distress, especially when holding them is not possible. Here we examined the relative efficacy of parents' speech and singing (familiar and unfamiliar songs) in alleviating the distress of 8- and 10-month-old infants (n = 68 per age group). Parent-infant dyads participated in 3 trials of the St...
Article
In childhood, musical play is an important part of home life and, potentially, sibling play. Considering the social‐emotional relevance of musical activities, siblings' engagement in musical play may also be associated with social development. The current longitudinal study examined musical play in 39 pairs of siblings during naturalistic home play...
Article
Many scholars consider preferences for consonance, as defined by Western music theorists, to be based primarily on biological factors, while others emphasize experiential factors, notably the nature of musical exposure. Cross-cultural experiments suggest that consonance preferences are shaped by musical experience, implying that preferences should...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mothers around the world sing to infants, presumably to regulate their mood and arousal. Lullabies and playsongs differ stylistically and have distinctive goals. Mothers sing lullabies to soothe and calm infants and playsongs to engage and excite infants. In this study, mothers repeatedly sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to their infants (n = 30...
Article
Full-text available
Infants use social cues to form expectations about the social relationships of others. For example, they expect agents to approach helpful partners and avoid hindering partners. They expect individuals with shared food preferences to be affiliates and individuals with opposing food preferences to be nonaffiliates. Interpersonal synchrony and asynch...
Article
Full-text available
Infants are highly selective in their help to unfamiliar individuals. For example, they offer more help to partners who move synchronously with them rather than asynchronously and to partners who interact with them in a “nice” rather than “mean” manner. Infant-directed song and speech may also encourage infant helping by signaling caregiver quality...
Chapter
Across cultures, aspects of music and dance contribute to everyday life in a variety of ways that do not depend on artistry, aesthetics, or expertise. In this chapter, we focus on precursors to music and dance that are evident in infancy: the underlying perceptual abilities, parent–infant musical interactions that are motivated by nonmusical goals,...
Article
Full-text available
The present study compared children's and adults' identification and discrimination of declarative questions and statements on the basis of terminal cues alone. Children (8–11 years, n = 41) and adults (n = 21) judged utterances as statements or questions from sentences with natural statement and question endings and with manipulated endings that f...
Article
Moving in synchrony with others encourages prosocial behavior. Adults who walk, sing, or tap together are later more likely to be cooperative, helpful, and rate each other as likeable. Our previous studies demonstrated that interpersonal synchrony encourages helpfulness even in 14-month-old infants. However, in those studies, infants always experie...
Article
Caregivers often engage in musical interactions with their infants. For example, parents across cultures sing lullabies and playsongs to their infants from birth. Behavioral studies indicate that infants not only extract beat information, but also group these beats into metrical hierarchies by as early as 6 months of age. However, it is not known h...
Article
Interpersonal synchrony increases cooperation among adults, children, and infants. We tested whether increased infant helpfulness transfers to individuals uninvolved in the movement, but shown to be affiliates of a synchronously moving partner. Initially, 14-month-old infants (N = 48) watched a live skit by Experimenters 1 and 2 that either demonst...
Article
Full-text available
Adults who engage in synchronous movement to music later report liking each other better, remembering more about each other, trusting each other more, and are more likely to cooperate with each other compared to adults who engage in asynchronous movements. Although poor motor coordination limits infants' ability to entrain to a musical beat, they p...
Article
Full-text available
Musical behaviours such as dancing, singing and music production, which require the ability to entrain to a rhythmic beat, encourage high levels of inter- personal coordination. Such coordination has been associated with increased group cohesion and social bonding between group members. Previously, we demonstrated that this association influences e...
Article
Full-text available
People readily extract regularity in rhythmic auditory patterns, enabling prediction of the onset of the next beat. Recent magnetoencephalography (MEG) research suggests that such prediction is reflected by the entrainment of oscillatory networks in the brain to the tempo of the sequence. In particular, induced beta-band oscillatory activity from a...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that explicit cues specific to the encoding process (endogenous) or characteristic of the stimuli themselves (exogenous) can be used to direct a reader's attentional resources towards either relational or item-specific information. By directing attention to relational information (and therefore away from item-specific in...
Article
Dickinson and Szeligo (Can J Exp Psychol 62(4):211–222, 2008) found that processing time for simple visual stimuli was affected by the visual action participants had been instructed to perform on these stimuli (e.g., see, distinguish). It was concluded that these effects reflected the differences in the durations of these various visual actions, an...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
To examine the relationships between participation in an early childhood music program and the socioemotional development of children aged 0-8 years. To understand the variability in the results of studies that have documented the relationship between early childhood music program participation and socioemotional development by measuring the moderating effect of selected variables.