Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth JohnsonPrincipal Investigator


  • BA from the University of Rochester with major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences (minors: Linguistics, Italian).
  • Take Five program in Developmental Biology & Evolution.
  • MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological & Brain Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University.
  • Post doc position at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, NL.
  • Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and the Director of the UTM Child Language and Speech Studies Lab.

Research Interests:

  • Perception/production of infant-directed speech, visual prosody, speaker recognition, sentence processing by toddlers, early word recognition, and the perception of language-specific prosody

Thomas St Pierre

Thomas St. PierrePostdoctoral Fellow


  • MA in Linguistics and TESOL at Ball State University
  • PhD in Linguistics (Cognitive Science Track) at the University at Buffalo

Research Interests: Adaptation, Processing L2 Speech, Language Attitudes, Reference, Influence of Extralinguistic Factors on Processing (in children and adults)

Priscilla Fung

Priscilla Fung, PhD Candidate


  • BSc specializing in Psychology from the University of Toronto.

Research Interests: Language acquisition in early childhood bilingualism, relationship between bilingualism and cognitive development.

Madeleine Yu

Madeleine YuPhD Candidate


  • BSc in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of California San Diego

Research Interests: Multilingual effects on language acquisition and perception, speaker recognition, music and language processing, auditory-visual speech processing

Jida Jaffan

Jida Jaffan, PhD Candidate


  • BSc in Cognitive Science and Psychology at the University of Toronto 
  • MA in Linguistics at the University of Toronto

Research Interests: Psycholinguistics! How individual differences (e.g. empathy) can impact child language development, and how children and robots use language to interact and learn.


Levi StutzmanPhD Candidate


• BA in Psychology and Philosophy from York University
• MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China
• MSc in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language from the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language

Research Interests: Multimodal communication and interaction, gesture, language acquisition, and human-robot interaction.

Lisa Hotson baby

Lisa Hotson, Research Lab Coordinator

Education: BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Worked as a research assistant in Dr. Laurel Trainor's Auditory Development Lab as well as Dr. Sandra Trehub's Music Development Lab.


Olivia Hiort, ROP Student

Education: HBSc at the University of Toronto, specializing in psychology and minoring in philosophy. Expected Date of Graduation: 2024
Future Plans: I intend to bury myself in research that satisfies my fascination with the relationships between language and consciousness. Once my hair starts to turn gray, I want to develop a therapy for young people with existential dread.
Fun Facts: My latest scientific obsession was with David Eagleman's theory of why we dream, described in his book Livewired (a recommended read to anyone). 


Jessica Hira, ROP Student

Education: University of Toronto Mississauga (HBSc) Neuroscience Specialist, Biology for Health Sciences Major, Chemistry Minor. Expected Date of Graduation: 2023
Future Plans: I plan to pursue a career within clinical research or the medical field.
Fun Facts: I am a huge history buff and I love reading mythology from different cultures. I also enjoy travelling, learning about different religions, and swimming!

Bailey Agard


Bailey Agard, Research Assistant

Education: Specialized Honours BA in Cognitive Science, York University. Expected Date of Graduation: 2022
Future Plans: I plan to continue researching topics in Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics.
Fun Facts: I am a gentle-spirited varsity wrestler who also enjoys reading, piano-playing, and travelling. 

Kaitlyn Harris


Kaitlyn Harris, Research Assistant

Education: English major with French and Education Studies minors, University of Toronto Mississauga. Expected Date of Graduation: 2023
Future Plans: I plan to pursue a career in education, and I hope to eventually work for an international organization like UNICEF.
Fun Facts: I have been playing the flute for 8 years, and during the pandemic I learned to play the ukulele! 



Priyanka Raj, Research Assistant

Education: HBSc in Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto. Expected Date of Graduation: 2023
Future Plans: In the future, I plan to work in Natural Language Processing in the field of artificial intelligence, where I would focus on the relationships between natural language and machinery/technology.
Fun Facts: I’ve lived in 8 different countries including Brazil and Kazakhstan! 

Juhaku Okugawa


Juhaku Okugawa, Research Assistant

Education: Psychology with a Minor in Biology and Education Studies at the University of Toronto. Expected Date of Graduation: 2022
Future Plans: He would like to be either a teacher or a medical doctor.



Maheen Shahzad, Research Assistant

Education: HBSc in Biology for Health Sciences and Psychology from the University of Toronto. Expected Date of Graduation: 2022
Future Plans: I am planning on researching in the field of clinical psychology.
Fun Facts: I have attended three different high schools on two different continents. 

Lab Alumni
Archived Lab Photos