Daphne Maurer

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Daphne Maurer
OccupationDistinguished University Professor of Psychology
Spouse(s)Charles Maurer
AwardsDonald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award (2015)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota
Doctoral advisorPhilip Salapatek
Academic work
InstitutionsMcMaster University

Daphne Maurer is a Canadian experimental psychologist, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, of the Association for Psychological Science, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2015 she was awarded the Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science. In 2017 McMaster awarded her an honorary degree.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Maurer received a B.A. with honours at Swarthmore College, an M.A. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in child development at the University of Minnesota.

Research and career[edit]

Maurer's Visual Development Lab at McMaster University focuses on understanding the development of visual perception and, to a lesser extent, on understanding synaesthesia. She has published approximately 200 papers in scientific journals, including Nature, Science and Nature Neuroscience. "Her work has reshaped our understanding of the infant's sensory world and its development," according to the citation for the Hebb award.[2][3]

Maurer's research has mostly been basic science but it has had practical import: it has informed the treatment of congenital cataract and it has shown that some kinds of video game can ameliorate adult amblyopia.

Far removed from the ivory tower is work she has done on vision screening. Every year in Ontario some 20,000 children have had difficulty learning to read and/or have lost the vision in one eye because of untreated eye problems. Maurer has been studying the methods, utility, and practicality of screening the vision of kindergarteners throughout the province of Ontario. (Studies of other jurisdictions are not directly applicable because of different medical systems, ethnicity, and geography.) Her research has led the Province to begin universal vision screening in senior kindergarten beginning in the school year 2018–2019.[4]

In 1988, Maurer wrote with Charles Maurer The World of the Newborn, a science book that examines the development of the newborn baby from the baby's perspective. According to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, "The World of the Newborn is a landmark book; it is among those rare titles that successfully offer a startlingly fresh perspective on their subject matter." "It leads the authors into complex and tantalizing constructions of the baby's sensorium," wrote The New York Times. The World of the Newborn won the book award of the American Psychological Association and was translated into Italian, Japanese, Polish, Korean and Chinese.[5][6][7][8]

Maurer has commented on child development, vision and synaesthesia for many media outlets including The New York Times and New Scientist.[9][10] She also has a long interest in research ethics and currently sits on Canada's national Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics.

Selected Articles[edit]

  • Lewis, T. L., & Maurer, D. (2005). Multiple sensitive periods in human visual development: evidence from visually deprived children. Developmental Psychobiology, 46(3), 163-183.
  • Maurer, D., Le Grand, R., & Mondloch, C. J. (2002). The many faces of configural processing. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6(6), 255-260.
  • Maurer, D., & Barrera, M. (1981). Infants' perception of natural and distorted arrangements of a schematic face. Child Development, 52(1), 196-202.
  • Maurer, D., Pathman, T., & Mondloch, C. J. (2006). The shape of boubas: Sound–shape correspondences in toddlers and adults. Developmental Science, 9(3), 316-322.
  • Maurer, D., & Salapatek, P. (1976). Developmental changes in the scanning of faces by young infants. Child Development, 47(2), 523-527.
  • Mondloch, C. J., Maurer, D., & Ahola, S. (2006). Becoming a face expert. Psychological Science, 17(11), 930-934.


  1. ^ "McMaster researcher recognized for pioneering work on visual development in infants". Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  2. ^ "Visual Development Lab: Publications". psych.mcmaster.ca. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  3. ^ "Distinguished Contribution Award". csbbcs.org. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Vision Screening: Home". www.visionscreening.ca. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  5. ^ Maurer, Daphne; Maurer, Charles (1988-03-10). The world of the newborn. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465092307.
  6. ^ "MIND/BODY/HEALTH; FRESH FROM THE BOOMY, BUMPY WOMB". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  7. ^ Sexton, Miriam (1991-04-01). "Book Reviews". Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 16 (2): 248–250. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/16.2.248. ISSN 0146-8693.
  8. ^ "Publications". mcmaster.ca. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Dreifus, Claudia. "How Video Games Could Improve Our Vision". Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  10. ^ "Do we all have some synaesthetic ability?". New Scientist. Retrieved 2018-08-09.

External links[edit]