Kristen Gallant (2020 - 2022)

Alyssa's Image

As a  B. Sc. Psychology Major, Kristen Gallant received a UPEI Undergraduate Research Award (URA) in 2020 to conduct research on general and domain-specific components of creativity and analysis of data from the AIRS Test Battery of Singing Skills (ATBSS). She conducted pitch analysis using Praat on singing tests carried out by university students (athletes, music students, and students without music training) and persons with Parkinson's Disease. She also carried out descriptive statistics and correlational analyses on this data. Some of the research on Parkinson's Disease led to a poster presentation for the 2020 APCAM (Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting) and for the 2021 Annual meeting of CSBBCS (Canadian Society for Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Science). She also carried out computer-based text analysis of lyrics in created songs. In 2021, she received an NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) to conduct research on sensitive periods for the acquisition of musical knowledge in adolescence. As an extension of that work, she is currently conducting an honours thesis on the same topic. This work reflects her interest in pursuing further studies in the field of child and adolescent psychology. Her honours thesis will also serve as part of the preliminary work for a longitudinal study investigating this topic.  She was a awarded a SSHRC Graduate Scholarship,and  the Julian Jaynes Award from the Department of Psychology UPEI, and is currently a clinical psychology student in the graduate program at the University of Waterloo. 


Alyssa Maclean (2021 - 2022)

Alyssa's Image

Alyssa is a Psychology student with interests in the science of hearing and Gerontology. By combining her interests in both subjects, she wishes to work in a future career promoting hearing loss education and advocating for senior populations to lessen the social division between individuals with hearing loss and their communities. 

As an independent studies student and research assistant, she is currently working with the audiology portion of the MusAqu study performing hearing tests and conducting data analyses. She will be attending Dalhousie University next year to being an M. Sc. graduate studies program in Audiology in the School of Human Communication Disorders.    


Dylan Rose 

Robert Drew worked with Dr. Annabel Cohen as a Multimedia Research Technician, and facilitated the technical operations of the Music Cognition Lab for about 10 years. He was also  an Artist trainer/technician with the Artsnetlantic project. Robert received his BA in music from Dalhousie University and is a busily performing Classical Guitarist working with many ensembles across PEI (3 times nominated for Classical Musician of the Year- PEIMA). September 2003 marked the release of Roberts debut solo CD, "Ocean Suite" (nominated for "Classical Recording of the Year" at the 2005 East Coast Music Awards). Married and with 2 children, Robert has lived on PEI for 12 yrs and operates Fretworks Guitar Studio in Charlottetown.

Robert left his position in the laboratory for the  position of full-time technician with the Department of Psychology.  In this new capacity,  he continued to assist the Music Cognition lab, the AIRS project, and the Music Cognition course taught by Dr. Cohen. In particular, he was on hand for the student research projects conducted within the course context and as well supported the instruction of the acoustical analysis component of the course.  Robert has been a co-author  with Dr. Cohen and other lab members on several conference presentations and proceedings.  Subsequently Robert moved to a permanent position in the Digital Initiatives and Systems unit of UPEI's Robertson Library. 


Jamie Leath, B. A. (Hons. English)

Jamie's photo

Jamie is  studying for their second BA in Psychology at UPEI with an aim of going on to graduate studies in this field.  They joined the Auditory Perception and Music Cognition Research and Training Laboratory research team as a volunteer research assistant in November 2021 before being granted a paid research assistantship in February 2022. Jamie brings to the team years of experience writing, producing, performing, and arranging music. They have a passion for learning about music from an interdisciplinary perspective and are interested in systematic musicology, music cognition, aesthetics of music, prosody, and musical semantics.


Timon Elmer  (Visiting undergraduate summer intern from Basel, Switzerland, 2011; currently Postdoctoral researcher,  Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zurch, Switzerland)

 Timon worked on the following projects assisting the work of the laboratory, for which he received course credit from his home university. He has returned home in August to enter his 3rd undergraduate year of studies in computer science and psychology.

1.  Analysis of pitch contours produced in the AIRS test battery component requiring memory for an unfamiliar melody.  Calculation of the agreement (inter-rater reliability) statistics with similar judgments of another musician/rater.  Identification of the level of reliability the resulting statistic (kappa) suggested.  The data  are useful as a second independent measure for the analysis of the effects of language background, music training, and language of lyrics presented (Chinese or English) as we seek effects of native language lyrics vs foreign language lyrics on learning a new melody.

2. Analysis of the frequency (in semitones) of sung major triads,  comparing two pitch analysis programs and comparing the 2 sets of ratings with those of the 2nd rater (who used only one of the methods for rating); producing clear scatterplots showing the agreement of ratings and revealing that one method was superior for the bass range while both methods were excellent for the higher range.  This was something of practical importance for all researchers working in the singing project, as it was not previously clear which method would be best to use for pitch analysis of the entire voice range.

Analysis of the errors per note for each of the three notes of the major triad (as above). The analysis at this level of sensitivity had not yet been done before by our project. Together, we also ran our first analysis of variance with the data of the two raters.  so as to provide a more reliable result than that based on a single rater.

3.  Also in regard to the study of singing acquisition, collection of data and becaming familiar with the testing procedure.

4.  Following up on the original idea of administering a personality test (Big 5) to participant; handling all the ethical considerations by correspondence with the Department ethics board (this involved writing a letter of amendment detailing all of the issues and showing a complete understanding of the ethical considerations of confidentiality, compensation, etc).  The study was successfully conducted over the Internet and engaged the interest of sufficient numbers of participants to run a preliminary correlation of the results of the personality test and performance on one of the singing tests. Evidence was obtained for an effect on the openness scale.   Sisi Pan, a 2011-2012 honours student is now including the personality test in her study of the AIRS test battery, comparing  Chinese and Canadian-born students.

5. Translating from the old German the classic study/report by Werner, H. (1917). Die melodische Erfindung im frühen Kindesalter [Melodic invention in early childhood]. Wien: Bericht der Kaiserlichen Akademie, 182.

Kuori Akagi (Visiting  Undergraduate Intern from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, 2010)

Having completed his 3rd year of undergraduate studies specializing music and neuroscience,  and being a singer as well as performer in Japanese drumming, Kuori fit into the activities of the laboratory and assisted in a variety of ways with the research on singing that was ongoing. However, his research focus was on the role of music on the segmentation of a film,  following the  prior work of Dalhousie graduate student Cindy Hammon-Hill and Dr. Cohen.  Kuori compared the music used by the prior study with that of Japanese Drumming - quite an undertaking in regard to set-up, ethics, testing, and analysis.  Kuori's goal is to enter a graduate program in clinical neuroscience.


Ruth Reveal (Visiting Undergraduate  Intern from Agnes Scott College Decatur Georgia, 2010)

Ruth conducted a study analysing the improvised completions of melodies in one of the components of the AIRS test battery.  She presented this work at the AIRS 3rd Summer Workshop and she also performed, accompanying herself on the Irish harp, in the evening concert.   Ruth returned to Agnes Scott to graduate summa cum laude in music and neuroscience, and completed the M. Sc. Program in Music, Mind & Brain at Goldsmiths, University of London.  She is conducted her thesis using EEG to measure expectancy in melody, a topic related to work she conducted at UPEI, and then with EEG conducted with her supervisor at Agnes Scott the following year, and the work of her mentors at Goldsmiths. She is currently Director of Education at Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, in Dayton Ohio, serving 74,000 kids in 13 countries. 


Lisa McLellan (undergraduate intern from Bates College), Lewiston, Maine)

With an interest in voice and psychology,  Lisa McLellan joined AIRS for the summer of 2009 and assisted with the 2nd generation of the AIRS test battery, as well as supporting the first Annual Meeting of the AIRS project, for which she organized all of the conference abstracts and worked with Dr. Cohen on the conference program book.  Returning to Bates, she tested whether children would be more responsive to a human singer as opposed to a video representation of the singer (and she found that they reponded well to both).  Upon graduating from Bates with her undergraduate B. A.  she worked with a boys and girls centre in Philadelphia.  Her objective is to go on with graduate studies connected to the music field.


Marsha Lannan  (B. Sc. Hons. UPEI; M. Sc. SLP Dalhousie) (2008)

Marsha  completed her M. Sc. program at the School of Human Communication Disorders at Dalhousie University.  She completed her honours thesis on the acquisition of singing and speech in the lab in 2008 and with Jenna Coady was the first to use the AIRS Test Battery and participated in its development with Dr. Cohen.  The  AIRS Test Battery was a key component in the  AIRS grant proposal and much research has been conducted with it since, not only in Canada but in the UK, Estonia, Iceland, Poland  and Brazil.  

Marsha graduated in 2011 with an M. Sc. in Speech Language Pathology from  Dalhousie University.   Marsha continued as a part-time research assistant in the UPEI AIRS lab during the summer of 2010, and in 2011 conducted research under the direction of Dr. Kiefte at Dalhousie which will be reported at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Speech  Language Pathologist Association in 2012 (see the abstract below).

Acoustic Analysis of Vowels Produced in Spontaneous and Elicited Speech by Prince Edward Island and Halifax Speakers
Marsha S. Lannan, MSc., Dalhousie University, Cornwall, PE; Chelsey Gregory, MSc., Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS; Michael Kiefte, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS; Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

Intermediate: English dialectal variation in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) was analyzed via formant analysis of spontaneous speech recordings in order to identify systematic differences between spontaneous and elicited (i.e., read) speech production. In addition, vowel-inherent spectral change was examined to identify dialectal differences between two geographically distinct communities (Eastern and Central PEI).

Jenna Coady (B. A. Hons. UPEI; M. Sc. student U. Western Ontario) (2009)

Jenna completed her honours thesis on the acquisition of singing and speech. in 2008, working on the development and implementation of the AIRS test battery. She is a trained vocalist.  She is now finishing her final year in the Masters of Clinical Science program in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Western Ontario. 

Yee-May Siau, B.A. (hon)  (2008)

Yee-May worked on two projects between 2007 and 2008. One focused on absorption in film music using reaction time, and followed up on previous theses in this area conducted in the lab. The other  focused on the use of maps to help to understanding the significance of key figures in the history of psychology. She presented both of these research projects at the 2008 meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association in Halifax. Yee-May also completed a second major in Philosophy, and last year completed her honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Cathy Ryan, working in the area of metacognition.

Mary Anne Welton  (2007)

Mary Anne Welton defended her honours thesis, Dec. 22, 2007. The thesis  focused on the issue of critical periods in language acquisition. She presented a poster at the meeting entitled "Language and Music as Cognitive Systems" held in Cambridge England, in May 2007. She graduated from Dalhousie University's School of Human Communication Disorders in Speech Pathology.

 Kelti MacMillan

Kelti MacMillan graduated from Dalhousie University with a BA in Theatre. While working within the arts community in Nova Scotia she continued to study and completed her first two years of the music program. As an ACTRA and Equity member some highlighted moments include being part of the Neptune Ensemble for “Les Miserables”, a featured performer on Clary Crofts, “A Maritime Christmas Celebration”, weekly involvement with the Bear Theatre at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and a principal performer with Cellar Door's co-production Island filmed movie “Mrs. Ashboro’s Cat” last March. Kelti has been working as a research assistant part-time for several years, running experiments on the role of music, speech, and environmental sound on absorption in film.

Emily Campbell:  (B. Sc. Dalhousie; M. Sc. McGill)

Working with the lab for the summer (2006) from Dalhousie Department of Psychology,  through an NSERC USRA (University Student Research Award).  Emily continued her studies at McGill in  Speech Language Pathology.



Back, left to right: Kelti MacMillan, Dr. Annabel Cohen 
Front, counterclockwise from right: Estelle Gallant, Robert Drew, Stacey Enman, Adriana Lopez


Debora Dunphy:

Emmy-Award-winner, director Visual FX for Stargate Atlantis TV series, CIS Vancouver. See Article in MGM Roar magazine: Page 1, Page 2. VFX interview: PDF


Janet Roloson

Janet Roloson complted her Honours Psychology  degree under the supervision of Dr. Cohen.  In her spare time, she composes songs.  She has since completed a program in Counselling Psychology.


Steven Newman

Steve Newman is currently a DJ on PEI's KROK radio station. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree from UPEI following his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from UPEI 2002. He also graduated from the New York Film Academy ’s Short Filmaker Program in 1998. For the past years he has produced, promoted, and performed his own “Trivia Game Show” every week. For one summer he conducted research in the lab on film music which combined his expertise in film and scientific psychology.


Angela Arsenault

Angela Arsenault graduated from U.P.E.I. in 2004 with her Honours BSc with a major in psychology and a minor in biology. After completing her honours thesis with Dr. Annabel Cohen,  During her years at UPEI, Angela served as Psychology Club VP, Psychology Department representative, and Canadian Psychological Association campus representative. Angela enjoys playing solo violin as well as with the PEI symphony.

Ian Toms (B. A. Mus. McGill)

Ian began assisting in the lab as a high school student, following his participation in a study for Chris Blanchard's honours thesis. Ian found the work interesting and it turned out when the lab needed someone with MIDI (computer music technology skills), he had the winning application.  Ian continued to work part-time in the lab in the summers, even when he went off to McGill for his studies in Jazz at both the undergrad and graduate level.  His work culminated in a paper presented at the Canadian Acoustical Association (for which he won the student presentation award, in a competition in which all other students were at the graduate level) and a paper presented in 2005 at the Auditory Perception and Cognition Annual Meeting. The former paper was on a method for determining the keynote by people who do not have music training, and the latter focused on the representation of music in space.  A short paper was also published in a Proceedings Volume  based on the latter innovative work.   Ian  also squeezed in an Education Degree and is a teacher of mathematics  at a high school, in PEI and also teachers guitar at the University.  As time permits he performs jazz guitarist. He has one solo album  and has been a sideman on many other recordings. 

Virginia MacSwain, B. Sc. (U.P.E.I.)

research Technician Virginia MacSwain provided computer and other technical support for the laboratory from 1997-1998. She maintained the day-to-day functioning of the laboratory and its equipment and developed new programs and demonstrations to support the research and laboratory training. She provided the scaffolding to assist numerous students in making use of the laboratory facilities. Virginia was also a part-time laboratory instructor in the U.P.E.I. Physics Department, where she obtained her first degree. Virginia's graduate course work in mathematics and physics also contributed to the foundation for quantitative work in the laboratory. Virginia has since taken a full-time position with ITEC, UPEI's Information Technology in Education Centre.


Alan McKenna (B. A., U.P.E.I.)

Alan assisted in testing the new computerized emotional meaning test. Alan is now taking graduate studies at Dalhousie in Audiology.

Tom Bushell (programmer)

In a consultancy capacity, Tom Bushell has applied over 15 years of professional programming experience to computer hardware, and C++ and Visual Basic problems in the laboratory. He assisted in the development of several programs in the laboratory. Currently he is employed at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, in Nova Scotia.

Peter Burka, (B. Sc.) (programmer)

Peter is currently employed with Two Sigma Investments in New York City developing high-performance trading platforms. Previously, Peter worked for 14 years with IBM Ottawa developing Java virtual machines, garbage collection technology and Java development environments. Peter holds nine patents from his work with IBM.

He worked in the laboratory for 2 years on a part-time basis while an undergrad at U.P.E.I. At that time U.P.E.I. did not offer a full computer science undergraduate degree. He completed the last two years at Acadia. Peter developed programs to administer auditory tests using the lab's NeXT computers

Jocelyn Lymburner (B.A. Hons UPEI); M.A., Ph.D. (S Fraser)

Jocelyn worked in the laboratory as an NSERC summer undergraduate research fellow in 1994. She conducted research on auditory sequential memory that was reported at a meeting of the Canadian Acoustical Association. She has since received her M.A. & Ph. D. at Simon Fraser University. She is a faculty member of Kwantlan College in B.C.

Lisa Clyburn (B. A., M.A.)

Lisa worked as a summer assistant in the laboratory investigating preference and familiarity for music in elderly listeners. She has since received her Masters at the University of Alberta in Educational and Counselling Psychology, and is currently a Ph. D. candidate.


Leah Clyburn (B.A., Hons - UPEI;  MA. Gerontology  Waterloo; Ph. D. Clinical Psychology, Lakehead)

Tracy Doucette (B. A. Hons. U.P.E.I.; Ph. D. Atlantic Veterinary College, PEI).

Tracy provided assistance in development of experimental test materials, running experiments and data analysis during two of her undergraduate years. She received her Ph. D. from the Atlantic Veterinary College. Some of her research entails the analysis of maternal ultrasonic vocalizations in rats as a behavioural measure of stress-related drug effects. She is a faculty member in the Department of Biology at UPEI and also co-supervises honours students with Dr. Ryan in Psychology.

Chris Blanchard (B.A. Hons. UPEI; M. Sc. Ph. D. Human Kinetics, University of Alberta).

Chris completed the first honours thesis in the  UPEI laboratory. The thesis focused on the role of musical training in the probe-tone profile.  From there he went to the University of Alberta  to complete masters and doctoral degrees in Human Kinetics.  In several academic and research appointments he became a very prolific contributor to behavioural medicine and ultimately was awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair at Dalhousie University in the Faculty of Medicine with a cross-appointment in  Clinical Psychology.  He is currently a Professor of Medicine with cross appointments in the Dalhousie Schools of Health and Human Performance, Psychology and Physiology.