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Laurel Trainor

Laurel Trainor is a cognitive psychologist whose work brings together both music and science in the study of perception, cognition and neuroscience of music. Formally trained as a musician – and still active as principal flute of Symphony Hamilton – her research interests include the perception and cognition of music, human auditory perceptual and cognitive development, the perception of objects, speech and music in relation to communication, emotional development and social interaction.

Professor Trainor is the founding, and current director of LIVE Lab at McMaster University – a one of a kind, one hundred-seat concert hall equipped with virtual acoustics, the ability to measure EEG and physiology in audience members and performers, motion capture, sound recording and video presentation. The lab promises to give us valuable new information on how performers and audiences interact, how children learn music, and how music can be used to promote health.


Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 2015.

Nominated as a Woman of Distinction, YWCA, 2015.

Honorary Board Member, Suzuki Society of the Americas, 2013-present.

Fellow, The Association for Psychological Science, 2010.

Innovator of Distinction Award, McMaster University, 2009.

Relevant Publications

L. J. Trainor, "The origins of music in auditory scene analysis and the roles of evolution and culture in musical creation." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal British Society B: Biology, 370, 20140089, 2015

L. J. Trainor & L. K. Cirelli, "Rhythm and interpersonal synchrony in early social development." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1337, pp. 45-52, 2015

M. J. Hove, C. Marie, I. Bruce & L.J. Trainor, "Superior time perception for lower musical pitch explains why bass-ranged instruments lay down musical rhythms." PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1402039111

T. Fujioka, et al., "Internalized timing of isochronous sounds is represented in neuromagnetic beta oscillations." The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(5), pp. 1791-1802, February 2012

J. Phillips-Silver & L.J. Trainor, "Feeling the beat in music: Movement influences rhythm perception in infants." Science, 308, 1430, June 2005



Senior Fellow Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness


McMaster UniversityDepartment of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour


PhD (Experimental Psychology) University of Toronto

MA (Experimental Psychology) University of Toronto

BMus (Music Performance) University of Toronto

ARCT (Flute) Royal Conservatory of Music



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