Dr. Mel Rutherford, Ph.D. is a professor and chair in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. He graduated from Yale University and earned a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Development from the University of California at Santa Barbara. A Fulbright Fellowship allowed Dr. Rutherford to study and collaborate with well-known Simon Baron-Cohen in Cambridge, England. Dr. Rutherford also worked with Bruce Pennington and Sally Rogers at the University of Denver as a postdoctoral fellow. He now heads a dynamic research laboratory at McMaster University. Dr. Rutherford is well-known for research in the field of psychology and has been interviewed and quoted in The Globe and Mail, The London Times, The Chicago Times, CBC Radio, Quirks and Quarks, Afternoons on Q.R. Calgary, and The Discovery Channel as well as many AP newspapers around the world.
Dr. Sophia Melanson Ricciardone
I am curious about the world we live in, especially the social worlds that we collectively construct for ourselves as a species. I am fascinated by our collective behaviours and our worldviews, and I am deeply invested in conducting research that helps us understand that value of being more open, more generous, more responsive, and more kind to each other. I think that above all, I am passionate about the things that make us such an interesting species: our capacity for mass cooperation, for empathy, for innovation, for collaborative cognition, for joint attention, and for shared intentionality.
Vini is interested in using publicly available data to test some evolutionary psychology-based hypothesis. His current study assesses how indications of early-life unpredictability present in censuses and other surveys may predict indications of fast life-strategy later in life, such as early reproduction, and aggressive or risky behaviour.
Xueqi Catherine Ao
When we look at a face, we instantly categorize a person in terms of race, sex and age. Face perception incorporates not only visual input but also non-visual information. In addition, prior knowledge and information introduced experimentally can impact the visual experience of a human face. Now we want to know how non-visual information impacts social categorization when viewing a face.
Maheen is interested in the understanding of religion as a social category. She has studied whether children understand religion in essentialist terms, and is now creating ways to visualize the face templates people have for religious categories.
Esin is interested in autistic patterns and neural markers in the relatives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her current projects focus on the strengths and beneficial sides of ASD from the evolutionary psychology perspective. In addition to ASD studies, she is also interested in emotions and emotional face recognition.
Jean Luc is the lab manager and volunteer coordinator for the lab. He recruits developmental participants and coordinates research in the lab.