ELLA Team – 2017


Portrait Henderson_Science_Staff_013_highDr. Annette M. E. Henderson

Annette joined the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland as a Lecturer in August 2009. She is now proud to be the Director of this thriving research group! [Read More]


Research Fellows

Dr. Henry Dixson

Henry’s research interests include prosocial behaviour, punitive sentiment and theory of mind. He specialises in studying these phenomena with children from different cultural backgrounds.




Dr. Siobhan Kennedy-Costantini

Siobhan’s research interests lie broadly in the field of developmental psychology with a particular focus on infancy and early childhood. She is especially interested in babies and infants early social development in the context of the parent-infant relationship.



PhD Students


Nichole Breeland

Nichole’s research focuses on how parents influence children’s social development.  Her PhD research examines parental personality factors and their effect on children’s prosociality.



Rachel Low

Rachel’s primary research interests involve emotion regulation within romantic relationships and early childhood. Her current project examines the effectiveness of different emotion regulation strategies, and how parents play a role in socializing children’s emotion regulation.



HediehHedieh Tavazo

 Hedieh’s research interests lie in parent-child interactions and how those from different cultural backgrounds engage with their children. In particular, she is studying the approaches New Zealand and Iranian parents use to teach their children during cooperative and non-cooperative tasks.


For websiteSweta Anantharaman

Sweta’s primary area of research is social cognition in infancy and childhood. She recently submitted her PhD thesis which examined infants’ understanding of group dynamics.



Kieron Mottley 

Keiron is investigating self-recognition and self-regulation in the New Caledonian crow and human infants.




Masters Students

Claudia Allen

Claudia’s research focuses on the development of prosocial behaviour in infants and young children. Her Master’s research looks into the early development of cooperation, in particular what young infants understand about cooperative acts, and whether parental socialization bears an impact on its development.


Research Assistants

IMG_09222Chloe Moore

Chloe is the Lab Manager at ELLA. After having completed a honours degree in 2014, she has returned to The Early Learning Lab to help out with the day-to-day administration of the lab as well as the running of studies focusing on the development of cooperation across the first 3 years of life.



Kristina Wolsey

Kristina completed her Honours in Psychology in 2016 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Psychology  in Applied Behavioural Analysis. She assists in the Early Learning Lab by helping to run our cooperation studies.



Samarah Morriss

Samarah is currently completing her Bachelor degree in Psychology. She assists in the Early Learning Lab by helping to code the data from our cooperation studies.



 Honours Students

Agnes Teo

Agnes’ research examines how early social interaction relates to infants’ understanding of cooperation. Specifically, she is interested in how infants actively coordinate their attention/interest to another person and the object they are jointly playing with and whether this informs their understanding of cooperation.



Alexandra Bijl-Brown

Ally’s research focuses on synchrony, or how mothers and babies connect and engage, during play. In particular Ally’s research focuses on the tactics mothers and infants use to re-engage each other after a period of disconnection.



Caitlin McRae

Caitlin’s research aims to investigate what different abilities enable infants to understand cooperation. Specifically, Caitlin is exploring whether helping, sharing, imitating, and joint attention behaviours are related to cooperation among one-year-old infants.




 Beth Graham

Samarah Morriss

Kristina Wolsey


Summer Scholars 2017/18

Manuri Ranasinghe

Moya McCarthy