Associate Professor Mark Sagar is the director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies based at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. In his research he is creating interactive autonomously animated systems which will help define the next generation of human-computer interaction and facial animation. Along with ELLA researchers Dr Annette Henderson, Dr Siobhan Kennedy-Costantini and Cindy Chong, Mark is working to create a virtual baby known as BabyX. Find out more about BabyX.
UoA Associate Professor Quentin Atikinson’s research focuses on the evolution of culture, language and religion. Quentin, along with ELLA researcher Dr Henry Dixson, is investigating how prosocial environmental beliefs and behaviours vary across social groups. Whether we choose to cooperate is not coded in our genes, but is shaped by the behaviour, norms and culture of those around us. Their research evaluates the similarities and differences in how children in Vanuatu and New Zealand partake in cooperation.
UoA Associate Professor Nickola Overall’s research examines how emotional, attachment and relationship difficulties can be overcome to build healthy relationships. Nickola, along with ELLA researcher Rachel Low, is investigating how families can effectively support each other and resolve disputes to enhance family relationships. Rachel and Nickola’s research is especially focused on how families, and children can learn to manage and regulate their emotions during and after frustrating events.
Professor Shoji Itakura’s research looks at what children understand and how they think about robots. Along with Dr Annette Henderson and past ELLA PhD student Dr Ying Wang, Shoji has been investigating whether children view inanimate robots as cooperative partners. In addition to this, Shoji and Ying are also running a study looking at how children understand fairness and resource distribution.
Assistant Professor Sheila Krogh-Jesperson’s research looks at social cognition in infants and children. She is specifically interested in how children learn that objects move and actions occur in predictable ways and how infant’s come to understand others’ intentions. Along with ELLA researchers, she is studying how children learn to shift their gaze in anticipation of events occuring.