Our Research Team
Our team consists of researchers from 3 different psychology labs at the University of Waterloo:
The Child Cognition Lab (CCL) is led by Dr. Ori Friedman.
The Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL) is led by Dr. Katherine White.
The Developmental Learning Lab (DLL) is led by Dr. Stephanie Denison.
LIDL and DLL combine to form the Infant & Child Studies Group. Together, all three labs want to discover how children learn and think about the world around them!
At the LIDL, we explore how children understand and use language. How do children interpret words in different situations and when spoken by different people? Do children understand that people with different backgrounds may use language differently?
At the DLL, we focus on cognitive development. What do young children know about concepts and events in the world around them? How do they make and test hypotheses about their environment?
At the CCL, we explore how children understand and respond to the social world. How do children explain others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions? What do children know about rights and responsibilities?
Dr. Katherine White has been a professor at Waterloo since 2010. She is interested in how children learn language and use it in their interactions with others. She is particularly interested in how children’s language learning is influenced by the fact that everyone talks differently. She studies topics like: what types of information children use to learn their language(s), how children’s learning about language and learning about people are connected, and how children understand what people say in real-time by using what they know about them and different cues in their speech.
Dr. Stephanie Denison has been a professor at Waterloo since 2012. She is interested in how children learn and, in particular, how they use numerical information when making inferences. She studies topics like: how children anticipate other people’s emotions, how they figure out who other people are likely to be friends with, whether they consider proportions when making decisions, and how they learn in informal settings like museums.
Dr. Ori Friedman has been a professor at the University of Waterloo since 2005. He is interested in children’s social cognitive development and many related topics. His research investigates issues including how young children understand thoughts, emotions, and actions; how children think about ownership, rights, and responsibilities; and how children engage in pretend play and understand the distinction between fantasy and reality.
SOCIAL MEDIA + WEBSITE COORDINATOR
Shaneene Heupel completed her MA in Developmental Psychology with the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL). She worked as the lab manager for the Infant and Child Studies Group from 2021-2023. Currently, she manages CORAL's website and social media accounts. She is passionate about helping make developmental research accessible to parents and the general public through images and understandable language.
Claudia Sehl completed her MASc in Developmental and Communication Science and her Bachelor of Arts in Honors Psychology with a major in Philosophy. She is currently in the PhD program, co-supervised by Dr. Stephanie Denison from the Developmental Learning Lab and Dr. Ori Friedman from the Child Cognition Lab. Her research focuses on children's inferences about goals and costs, efficiency, and waste.
Ashley Avarino completed her Bachelor of Science Honours (BSc) at McMaster University in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, and recently graduated from the Master of Applied Science (MASc) program at the University of Waterloo. Currently, she is completing her PhD at Waterloo in the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL). Her research interests include: audiovisual speech perception, the influence of social factors on language learning, and children’s language-based inferences about people. Some of her favourite things are: Harry Potter, her dog Gigi, summer time, and travelling the world with friends and family!
Zoe Tipper recently completed her MASc in Development and Communication Science. She is now a PhD student in the Child Cognition Lab led by Ori Friedman. Her research focuses on children’s possibility judgements.
Hailey Pawsey recently completed her MASc in Developmental and Communication Science. She is currently completing her PhD under the co-supervision of Dr. Stephanie Denison and Dr. Ori Friedman, and is part of the Developmental Learning Lab and the Child Cognition Lab. Her research interests include children's ability to reason with close counterfactuals, subjectivity of preferences, and the IKEA effect.
Terryn Kim is in her fourth year of the Psychology program (BSc) at the University of Waterloo. She currently works in the Child Cognition Lab led by Dr. Ori Friedman as a research assistant and is interested in how children learn about the world around them.