Bi-modal processing of negative emotional information in 9-month-old infants: an eye tracking study

Ryerson University, Department of Psychology, Brain and Early Experiences Lab

The goal of this study is to better understand how infants can distinguish between emotions. Specifically, we are interested in learning how 9-month-old infants can distinguish between similar negative emotions (such as sad and angry) by integrating emotional sounds and facial expressions. Your baby would do a short task that takes about 10 minutes where we present a short audio clip of one emotional sound (e.g., happy, angry, sad), followed by a pair of female faces on a screen. While your baby is viewing the face pairs, we will track where your baby looks using a camera on a wireless eye tracking system. The study involves a one-time visit to our lab located on the Ryerson campus, scheduled at your convenience. The study would take approximately 1 hour, start to finish, and you would be with your child at all times during the study. This study is being done as part of the principal investigator’s MA thesis, in partial completion of their Master’s degree.

Your Impact

There are no direct benefits to participating in this study; however, participation will significantly contribute to our understanding of emotion perception. Past studies have primarily examined infants' visual perception of emotional faces to understand whether they recognize However, we often receive emotional information from multiple sensory domains at the same time (such as emotional sounds and facial expressions). The integration of both sensory modalities likely facilitates emotion recognition, but only a few studies have investigated infants' ability to recognize emotions presented bimodally (through both visual and auditory stimuli). By participating, parent/guardians and their infants will contribute to improving our understanding of how infants learn to perceive and recognize emotions.

Eligibility Criteria

All genders

Under 1 years old

Normal or corrected-to-normal vision

Study Tasks

Fill out a demographic questionnaire
Calibrate infant to a wireless video-based eye tracking system
Infant will complete a computerized emotion task


This study has been approved by the Ryerson University Research Ethics Board (REB #2019-046).



Activity and Time


Observational Study

Weekdays, Weeknights, Weekends

30 minute(s) - 1 minute(s) per session

1 session(s)



A baby scientist award and baby toy

Study Address

105 Bond Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5B 1Y3

Posting date: Oct 18, 2019