ELLA Team – 2020


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. 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 and eighth phases of ELLa’s long-term cooperation study.



Alecia Moser

Alecia’s research interests lay in the area of cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, and she has been primarily interested in investigating infant’s visual attention and learning from screen media. Her current research examines parent-infant interactions across digital and live interactive contexts.


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.




Sina Gibhardt

Sina’s research focuses on the development of prosocial emotions across early childhood. Precisely, how positive emotions motivate children to maintain and repair social relationships, and whether individual differences may be due to factors such as parenting style or temperament. She is currently working on the seventh and eighth phases of ELLa’s long-term cooperation study.



Caitlin McRae

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




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

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 Students

Simran Kaur 

Simran completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology in 2019. Her honours research project with ELLA focuses on how early social-cognitive factors such as joint attention, imitation and self-other language may predict cooperation.




Samantha Hancock-Gibb

Samantha completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology in 2018 before taking a year and a half off to work in Early Childhood Education. She is currently completing her honours year with ELLA looking at maternal responsiveness and early childhood cooperation.



Research Assistants

Kristina Wolsey

Kristina completed her Honours in Psychology in 2016 and her Masters of Psychology  in Applied Behavioural Analysis in 2019. 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