ELLA Team – 2019


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]


Lab Coordinator

 Dr. Angela Carr

Angela earned both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Auckland, School of Psychology before completing her PhD (in Criminology/Psychology) at Bond University in Australia. She has applied these skills across a range of roles in the public, not-for-profit, academic and private sectors in both New Zealand and Australia.
Angela helps with the day-to-day running of the Early Learning Lab and assists with recruitment and participant management.



Research Fellows


Dr. Rachel Low

Rachel’s research looks at emotion regulation in the context of close personal relationships. Her current project examines family resilience and well-being and how conflict affects successful family functioning.




Dr. Jess Aitken

Jess has a background in education and psychology. Her research interests lay broadly in the area of social development, especially the way in which parenting and aspects of the child (such as temperament) work together to support young children’s growing ability to help and cooperate with others. She is currently working on the seventh phase of ELLa’s long-term cooperation study.




PhD Students

Caitlin McRae

Caitlin’s research aims to investigate family coparenting following conflict and how children develop resilience and emotional well-being in these contexts.



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.



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.

Masters Students

Solyneth Hak

Soly’s research focuses on children’s decision-making. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Psychology in Applied Behaviour Analysis, and her research looks at cues that signal either reward of lack thereof, and how those cues shape children’s choices.



Livia MacPhedran

Livia is looking at cooperative behaviour and temperament in children from a behavioural genetics viewpoint, researching the genetic basis of cooperation and temperament.




Brian Croxford

Brian’s research aims to investigate the relationship between temperament, affective empathy, and prosocial behavior in economic games. He is also examining the degree to which temperament and empathy may influence in-group bias in early life.


Debbie Kwan

Debbie has a background in primary education and is interested in how young children develop empathy. Her research aims to understand how empathy is correlated with the theory of mind concepts and how it affects children’s prosocial behaviors.




 Honours and Postgraduate Diploma Students

Miffy Christensen

Miffy completed her Bachelor of Science in 2018 and is now undertaking honours in Psychology with ELLA. Miffy’s research focuses on cooperation in young children and factors that influence this, such as temperament and parents’ personalities.





Research Assistants



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 and second-language learning studies.



Sam Morriss

After completing her Honours thesis with ELLA in late 2018, Sam is also working on ELLA’s parent-infant interaction study helping to model infant and parent behaviour.




Third Year Research Students

Moya McCarthy 2018

2018/2019 Summer Research Scholars

Meera Patel

Briana Boele van Hensbroek

 ELLA Volunteers                             

Ameisha Nand

Caitlin Dodd

Christen Hinlo

Elise Mockett

Jayde Kelly

Justin Wong

Neil Lindsay

Olivia Brook

Rodolfo Villanueva

Sasha Cuthbert

Sophie Baguley