Summer RA positions available at the Harvard Music Lab

The Music Lab is the newest lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. We study the basic science of music in an effort to understand how and why humans produce and perceive music at all ages and across cultures. We are recruiting undergraduate research assistants in the fields of cognitive science, evolutionary biology, music theory, ethnomusicology, anthropology, linguistics, or computer science to spend their summer with us!

Summer RAs will be working on studies investigating universals in music perception and music production, people’s use of music in daily life, acoustics of music production in informal settings, studies of the impact of infant-directed song on infant affect and behavior, and long-term effects of the use of music in the home on parent and infant health. You can learn more about us and read our papers at

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of example summer projects that summer RAs will help to run:

1. Expanding our diverse collection of audio recordings for the Natural History of Song Project. Ideal for students with interests in ethnomusicology, anthropology, music theory, and exploration of non-western music.

2. In-lab studies exploring the degree to which music can function as a tool for parents to use when their infants are upset. This project will utilize a variety of research technologies, including wearable devices to track real-time physiological data from infants, motion tracking, emotion recognition, pupillometry, and more. Ideal for students interested in getting hands-on research experience running infant subjects in a developmental laboratory.

3. Crowd-sourced online studies about music categorization and perception using both traditional study pools of online workers and “citizen science” approaches. Ideal for students with interests in programming surveys, designing stimuli, and working with large, data sets from online participants.

4. Studies examining the possibility of links between synchronous activity (music or otherwise) and cooperation, prosociality, and interpersonal affinity. Ideal for students interested in social cognition and developing robust, replicable methods for online data collection.

5. Mobile app-based data collection from parents of infants and young children concerning infant/child temperament, parenting behaviors, and their relations to one another. Ideal for students interested in developing technical skills (e.g., SQL, JavaScript), developing methods for ecological momentary assessment, and applications of psychological research to health outcomes.

To apply, please fill out this google form: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Academic credit or stipends may be available. Please send us your questions at