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Michael Schutz, Ph.D. is the lab’s founding director and a core member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. Drawing upon his unique background as a professional percussionist (BMA, MM), as well as his training in experimental psychology (MA, PhD), and computer science (BS), he explores core issues of music cognition from new points of view. He enjoys helping students acquire research skills by actively exploring novel topics relevant to psychologists, musicians, and neuroscientists alike. He currently serves as the Secretary for SMPC (Society for Music Perception and Cognition), and received the University Scholar award from McMaster in 2019. For additional information read his biography or view recent TV and radio appearances. For more information on percussion activities (including performing and teaching), visit

Aimee Battcock
Aimee Battcock is working on a PhD dissertation in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour researching music’s ability to convey and evoke emotion. Her research explores the relationship between acoustic cues for musical emotions and listeners’ perceptual responses. She completed her B.Sc (Hons) in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience, at Bishop’s University. As an avid singer, she has previously researched individual differences and evoked emotion in choral singing. After graduation, Aimee also attended McGill University (2012-2013) as a non-degree seeking student. She has received the Governor General’s Award, the International Grenfell Scholarship, and the Dean’s Scholarship.

Cameron Anderson is a first-year M.Sc student exploring changes in musical emotion over historical eras. This project builds on his background in both music cognition and music theory, and will provide a novel look at the complex process of transmitting emotion from composer to performer to listener. He previously completed a Bachelor of Music with a specialization in Music Cognition, working on the auditory alarms project. Cam has played trombone in several ensembles across diverse musical styles including opera, jazz, and reggae. Outside of the lab, Cam spends his free time practicing trombone, composing music and learning Spanish.

Liam Foley is a first-year M.Sc. student in Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour investigating how psychoacoustic and music cognition research can help design more ergonomic and informative auditory alarms. Liam completed a B.Sc (Hons) in Psychology at Memorial University. His honours thesis investigated differences in auditory working memory between musicians and non-musicians. He was also involved in various projects across numerous areas including, brain plasticity and musical training, tonal hierarchy, auditory segregation, and generalized anxiety disorder and directed forgetting. Outside of academia, he is an avid drummer playing in numerous groups. Liam is excited and grateful to be applying both his research and musical experience to the MAPLE lab.

Laura Schachtler (Thesis) is a fourth year B.Sc. Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She is an avid participant in community Theatre where she is able to practice and perform her favourite genre of music, Musical Theatre and Show Tunes. This fall she will be performing in her 15th Musical Production. Laura is extremely excited to be joining the MAPLE Lab and looks forward to discussing the impact of music on the mind, and how it shapes our perception of the world around us. She is particularly interested in the educational applications of music therapy and hopes to explore this topic more in the future.

Benjamin Kelly (Thesis) is a fourth year Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student. He has experience with piano, vocals, and primarily the trumpet; practicing and performing with various choirs, concert bands, and jazz bands over his musical career. He loves most forms of music, with a specific interest in the differences between new and old alternative, indie, and rap. Ben will be working on his thesis in the MAPLE Lab to explore the connections between music and emotion.

Julia Bissessar is a third year B.A Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She is working in the on the emotional piano project in the MAPLE Lab this year. Julia enjoys listening to various genres of music and has experience playing piano, saxophone, and ukulele in various bands. With a background of teaching piano, Julia looks forward to learning more about how emotion shapes our musical perception and learning more about music cognition in the future.

Jessica LaMantia (Undergraduate) is a third year student working towards a B.Sc. in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (Music cognition specialization). She has been playing the piano since the age of 4. More recently, she has experienceperforming on the viola and the guitar. Jessica is excited to combine her love for science and music while working on the auditory alarms project in the lab.

Vivian Li (Undergraduate) is a third year Health Sciences student. She loves playing and listening to a variety of music and has completed her Grade 10 Piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, she enjoys singing and playing piano at McMaster Children’s Hospital and Shalom Village. This lifelong love of music motivated her to delve into the field of music cognition in second year and she has been curious to learn more ever since. This year, she is excited to continue her exploration into music cognition through working on the emotional piano project in the MAPLE Lab.

Sara Marshall is a third year student in the Honours B.Sc. Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program. She has played piano since a young age, played trumpet in many different bands throughout high school, and continues playing in the McMaster Concert Band. Sara loves that McMaster has opportunities to combine her interests of science and music, in the MAPLE lab and in other settings. In the future, Sara looks forward to exploring how music cognition research can impact a variety of people and careers.

Kailey McMillan (Undergraduate) is a third year Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Performing since the age of four in voice, piano, guitar, saxophone, and trumpet, Kailey’s experiences include concert and jazz bands, brass quartets, a Capella, and choir groups. She has recorded and performed across Ontario as a vocalist in an R&B-Soul band. With a passion for learning how music affects the brain, Kailey is eager to investigate how music facilitates healing and learning through medical alarms in the MAPLE Lab this year.

Thomas Samson-Williams is a third year student in the department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour in the Music Cognition Specialization. He has been involved in music for as long as he can remember, starting with choir at 3 years old and violin lessons at 4. He is thrilled to be combining his lifelong love of music with his passion for science in the MAPLE Lab, where he will be working on the Emotional Piano Project.

Subeetsha Uthayakumar (Undergraduate) is a third year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Subeetsha appreciates various genres of both instrumental and vocal music. She has had experience playing several instruments in concert band and small ensembles, as well as vocal experience as a soloist and in many acapella groups. Subeetsha is looking forward to growing her appreciation for music and human behaviour through music cognition research.

Max Delle Grazie is a third year Honours Music major currently working in the Maple lab on the Emotional Piano Project performing cue extractions. His main interests are playing trombone and music theory, and enjoys the psychological side of music as well. Max has been studying music either independently or through school for about 8 years, and thoroughly enjoys it. He listens to a variety of genres of music, mostly classical and alternative. Most importantly, Max is happy to be making contributions to the project.

Jeffrey Ong is a second year student in the Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behavior program. He has been playing guitar since the age of 9 and has completed his Grade 5 Guitar with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In his spare time, Jeffrey enjoys writing and producing original music, which he releases on various music streaming platforms. His passion for music and the sciences has led him to the MAPLE Lab, where he is working on the Auditory Alarms project with a great team of researchers. Jeffrey is excited and looking forward to learning more in the MAPLE Lab about how our brains interpret music and sounds.

Please visit our Lab Alumni page for information on the next steps of past team members!