Origins of Cooperation

Everyday functioning relies on the ability to successfully cooperate with each other. Something as simple as buying groceries relies on the cooperation of many individuals (e.g., farmers, grocers, cashiers, etc.). In addition to being an important part of our everyday lives, cooperation plays an important role in children’s social and cognitive development. The Cooperation study is ELLA’s biggest study and began way back in 2012 and since that time has seen the involvement of more than 600 NZ families. In 2018 we finished Phase 5 and started Phase 6. We are looking forward to continuning this research throughout 2019 and beyond!

Click here to read more or sign up to participate now.




Family Resilience and Well-being

People have all kinds of strategies for dealing with life’s challenges. In this study we are exploring how different ways of feeling, thinking and behaving work for parents and their children in different contexts. Specifically, this study aims to better understand the things parents and
children individually and together that fosters resilience and well-being. 






Children’s Understanding of Intentions

Children in New Zealand are increasingly interacting with devices but there are still many questions about how children learn from technology. We know that children learn well from observing others (e.g., parents & siblings) and that as early as 18-months-old, infants can understand the intentions of another person and help them to complete their goals. In this study we are exploring how children understand the actions of non-human agents (e.g., social robots) and whether they can extend their understanding of intentions to help a social robot

Click here to learn more about this research.



Storybook Social Understanding Study

Stories help us understand and think about the world from different perspectives. Reading books with your child is just one of the many ways we help them to learn about the world. In this study, we investigated how language and perspective-taking may help to improve children’s social development. Families in this study read specially designed storybooks with their children for two months to examine whether different types of storytelling can advance children’s social development.

This study is almost finished and no longer looking for participants. A big thank you to all the families who have been involved.





To participate in any of the above studies you can register your interest here or contact us at