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, and 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!

Lab Coordinators

Emily Stonehouse recently completed her MA in Developmental Psychology with the Child Cognition Lab, and is now working as the lab coordinator and continuing to conduct research. She is interested in children's understanding of ownership rights and how children and adults make judgements about objects using previous knowledge.

Ashley Blayney-Hoffer is currently in her 4th year in Honours Kinesiology with a minor in psychology. She is very interested in child development and plans to pursue a Master's degree in rehabilitation sciences with a specialization in pediatrics. When not in the lab, she is busy at practice as a co-captain on the Varsity Track and Field Team.

Graduate Students

Brandon Goulding is a 5th-year PhD student in the Child Cognition Lab. His doctoral work with Dr. Ori Friedman explores how children reason about the possibility of strange and unfamiliar events. He has also done work on children's reasoning about the past and future (in collaboration with Dr. Cristina Atance at the University of Ottawa), and on their inferences of object and territory ownership. He's interested in other stuff, too.

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 information search and the development of cognitive biases.

Julianna Lu is a first year master's student completing her Master of Applied Science in Developmental Psychology. She is one of the researchers from the Developmental Learning Lab (DLL), led by Dr. Stephanie Denison. She is investigating children’s ability to make probabilistic inferences in the context of games. She hopes to expand on this by exploring whether children can use probability to infer whether someone is cheating in a game based on chance.

Erin Kim is a first year graduate student in the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL) where she explores children's perception of accents. After her MASc, Erin plans to study speech language pathology.


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!

Shaneene Heupel is a part of the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL) and is currently completing her Masters of Psychology at the University of Waterloo. She is interested in how disfluencies in speech can affect toddlers’ perceptions of speaker knowledge.


Undergraduate Students

Gabi Magrath is completing her fourth year of a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Psychology. As a research assistant in the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL), she is exploring her interest in Developmental Psychology and Linguistics. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in the future.

Venus Ho is in her fourth year of the Psychology program at the University of Waterloo. She is a research assistant in the Child Cognition Lab and is interested in exploring how children learn about the world around them.


Olivia Halley is a second year Health Studies Honours (BSc) student in the Faculty of Health. She is currently working as a research assistant in the Child Cognition Lab, Developmental Learning Lab, and the Lab for Infant Development and Language (LIDL) and hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics in the future.

Our Labs

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?

Interested in participating in our studies?