My research interests center on the early developmental challenges of infancy, and how caregivers modify or support those challenges both behaviorally and physiologically during the early weeks and months of life. The outcomes of interest are behavioral state regulation (crying, awake alert and sleep), pain and stress experiences, and cognition and memory from the newborn period through the first year of life. Caregiver influences are assessed through contact (e.g. suckling, skin to skin contact, carrying and holding) and nutrient (e.g. feeding, breast milk, carbohydrates such as sucrose) interactions, and their combination. These "co-regulatory" processes are studied in the laboratory and in the community in the homes of the infants, using direct observation, experiential sampling methodologies (behavioral diaries), orientation-habituation procedures, and noninvasive physiological measures (e.g. salivary cortisol, cardiovascular responses). The laboratory results are applied to clinical (infant colic, procedural pain reduction) and prevention programs (prevention of shaken baby syndrome).In recent years, interest has focused on infant abuse prevention, using previous results to develop transnational prevention materials to prevent abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome.


Eight-year outcome of implementation of abusive head trauma prevention
Child Abuse & Neglect
Ronald G. Barr and Marilyn Barr and Fahra Rajabali and Claire Humphreys and Ian Pike and Rollin Brant and Jean Hlady and Margaret Colbourne and Takeo Fujiwara and Ash Singhal
DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.07.004

Maternal frustration, emotional and behavioural responses to prolonged infant crying
Infant Behavior and Development
Ronald G. Barr and Nicole Fairbrother and Julie Pauwels and James Green and Mandy Chen and Rollin Brant
DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.08.012


The Period of PURPLE Crying Intervention Programme to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndome

Honours & Awards

Canada Research Chair in Community Child Health Research, 2003-2014

Director, Experience-based Brain and Biological Development (currently Child and Brain Development), Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, 2003-2008

McGill University Chair in Child Development, 2000-2003

Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, Howard Webster Foundation, 2001-2003

Research Award, Ambulatory Pediatric Association, 2001-2002