Frequently Asked Questions

If you would like to learn more and possibly participate in our studies please fill out this form. Below we have provided a list of some frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions or would like to send us a comment please click here.

What will my child do when we visit ELLA? 
Our studies involve fun activities that tell us a bit about what young children know. Our first priority is to make sure all children who visit us at ELLA feel comfortable and safe. Before each session begins, we sit down in our warm-up room and play a few games to build rapport and trust. After that, you and your child will accompany the experimenter to one of our testing rooms where the experiment will begin. Most studies involve playing games or reading stories, but the nature of each experiment varies and full details will be explained to you prior to your visit. While at the lab, at no time are parents separated from their children. As a token of our appreciation, children receive a small toy at the end of the session and you receive a gift voucher.


Do you perform formal developmental psychological assessments?
ELLA is a non-clinical research centre; we are neither trained nor licenced to clinically assess children. We are, however, happy to refer you to qualified clinical psychologists who can.


How long does a typical session take?
The length of each study varies, but typically a single session is about an hour long. The experimenter running the study you sign up for will inform you how of your session duration.


Who runs the studies?
Fully-trained research assistants or postgraduate students run our studies, under the supervision of the ELLA’s principal researchers who all hold doctorates in developmental psychology.


Do parents participate?
It depends on the particulars of the study. Sometimes parents are asked to sit with their infant during the activities, take part in the activities or to fill out brief questionnaires. The experimenter running the study you sign up for will inform you if the study calls for parent participation.


What happens if my child gets fussy?
At the first signs of distress or discomfort the experiment is stopped. If this happens you and the experimenter can discuss if you want to take a break, reschedule the visit for another day, or alternatively withdraw from the experiment. It is important to note that there is absolutely no pressure to try again or to return at a later date.


Do I have to come in more than once?
Participation usually requires just one visit and does not commit you to any further visits. If you are interested in participating further, you can always ask to be contacted when another study comes along.


When can I come in? 
We’ll find a time that works best for you! We usually see families on weekdays (9am – 5pm), but sometimes we have weekend appointments available.


Will my child’s results be confidential?
All written and videotaped data is stored independently of personal information and kept on our secure ELLA backup storage site.


Can I get copies of the results?
We send a yearly research results newsletter to all visitors of the ELLA to keep them up to date on the activities over the last 12 months. We provide an archive of newsletters online, and respond to all written requests for further information. Often the difference in time between a testing sessions\ and academic publication can be many months (or even years).


Where are you located?
Our studies take place in the Science Centre (Building 302) at The University of Auckland, City Campus.


Is parking available?
Yes, when we schedule your session we’ll give you a map and directions to our free parking space. When you arrive, one of us will meet you and guide you to our center.


Is there any compensation for participation?
Participating families go into a draw to win a gift certificate, and infants and children receive a small gift every time they take part in one of our studies.


What if I need to bring other children with me?
Siblings are welcome to come along; you can bring someone to look after them in our playroom or they can join you during the testing session.


What do we do with the results?
We present our findings at scientific conferences and publish them in academic journals. You can find a list of our recent publications here.


Interested in participating? 
If so, please fill out the information here 

If you have any questions, or would like to find out more please contact us on 09 923 4236 or email us at If your baby is a bit too young at the moment, you can still call us now and sign up and we’ll call you when your baby is the right age for the first visit.