Mel Rutherford
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Professor & Chair
PC 103
(905) 525-9140 ext. 27828
(905) 529-6225
Our work at the Rutherford Lab is experimental psychology motivated by evolutionary theory. What are the psychological adaptations shared by all humans that solve the adaptive problems of our ancestral environment? Specifically, we work on the questions of Social Perception and Social Perceptual Development. We study animacy perception, because discriminating what in the world is animate is the first developmental step in social cognition. We study face perception and the perception of emotional facial expressions, and we are exploring the development of categorical perception of emotional expressions. Once we know what social perceptual skills develop in the first years of life, we can develop tests for atypical development. Using eye tracking technology, we are finding very early markers of autism spectrum disorders, including how infants at risk for autism use motion information in animacy perception, the perception of faces, and the perception of emotional facial expressions, and how infants use facial eye gaze to capture attention.
Evolutionary psychological perspectives on social perceptual development, social cognitive development, theory of mind and autism
What pre-requisites do you look for when evaluating a potential thesis student?

The minimum CA of 8.5.

What information are you going to want from a student who is interested in working in your lab?

Student's grades will be retried by the ballot system once the balloting process is completed. In addition, I will look for evidence that we have research interests in common, either as a description on the ballot system or in an individual interview.

How do you want to be contacted?

You may contact me by e-mail, however, I may not respond until I evaluate the applications submitted through the ballot.

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