You are now in the main content area

Dr. Margaret Moulson

Associate Professor
EducationPhD, University of Minnesota
Phone416-979-5000 ext. 552661
Areas of Expertiseinfancy; development; face perception; emotion; cognitive neuroscience


Dr. Moulson is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Brain and Early Experiences (BEE) Lab. She received her PhD in developmental psychology from the Institute for Child Development at the University of Minnesota, and completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The overarching goal of Dr. Moulson’s research program is to understand the mechanisms that underlie the development of social perception in both typical and atypical populations. Her research combines behavioural (head-mounted video recording, eye-tracking, looking time paradigms) and brain-based (EEG) measures to investigate face and emotion perception throughout development, with a particular focus on infancy and the role that early visual experience plays in driving developmental change. Research in the BEE Lab is currently supported by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and by an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Some current research questions in the lab include:

  • How often are infants exposed to faces in their daily environment and how does this exposure shape their face processing abilities?
  • When and how do infants learn to recognize facial expressions of emotion? 
  • How is emotion perception in the first year of life related to higher-level abilities, like social referencing and emotion regulation, in the second year?
  • What are the neural changes that underlie the development of face and emotion perception in infancy?


Selected Publications

Sugden, N. A., & Moulson, M. C. (2016). Hey baby, what’s “up”? One- and 3-month-olds experience faces primarily upright but non-upright faces offer the best views. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1154581

Balas, B., Peissig, J., & Moulson, M. C. (2015). Children (but not adults) judge similarity in own- and other-race faces by the color of their skin. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 130, 56-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2014.09.009

Moulson, M. C., Shutts, K., Fox, N. A., Zeanah, C. H., Spelke, E. S., & Nelson, C. A. (2015). Effects of early institutionalization on the development of emotion processing: A case for relative sparing? Developmental Science, 18, 298-313. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12217

Sugden, N. A., & Moulson, M. C. (2015). Recruitment strategies should not be randomly selected: Empirically improving recruitment success and diversity in developmental psychology research. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 523. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00523

Sugden, N. A., Mohamed-Ali, M. I., & Moulson, M. C. (2014). I spy with my little eye: Typical, daily exposure to faces documented from a first-person perspective. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 249-261. DOI: 10.1002/dev.21183

Moulson, M. C., Balas, B. J., Nelson, C. A., & Sinha, P. (2011). EEG correlates of categorical and graded face perception. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3847-3853. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.09.046