People

Lab Director

Dr. Amrisha Vaish

Amrisha is Assistant Professor of Psychology and director of the Early Social Development Lab at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the social, emotional, and moral development of young children. In particular, she studies the emergence of moral emotions (such as empathy, sympathy, guilt, and gratitude), moral judgments, and prosocial behavior. She is also very interested in how infants understand and learn from others’ emotions and desires.

Amrisha began as Assistant Professor at UVA in 2014. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Free University Berlin (Germany) in 2010. Prior to starting at UVA, she was a Dilthey Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Amrisha received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2011, the Division 7 Dissertation Award from the American Psychological Association in 2012, and a ‘Rising Star’ designation by the Association for Psychological Science in 2015. She is a faculty fellow of the LIFE academy and a faculty affiliate of Youth-Nex.

Email: vaish@virginia.edu

[Curriculum Vitae]

 

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr. Janine Oostenbroek

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Janine’s research focuses on the extent to which behaviors like imitation and social motivation underpin children’s desire to interact with others. She completed her Ph.D. which investigated the mechanisms and functions of neonatal imitation at The University of Queensland, Australia. Following this, she held a postdoctoral position at The University of York, UK, before accepting another postdoctoral position at UVA where she will be investigating the role of forgiveness in children. Janine loves music and plays the piano, violin and cello and also enjoys camping and hiking!

Email: jmo3h@virginia.edu

 

Graduate Students

Caroline Kelsey 

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Caroline is currently a third year Ph.D. student in Developmental psychology. Prior to beginning her work at UVA, she received her B.S. in Biology and Psychology at Penn State, and her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from William and Mary. A fun tidbit about Caroline is that she enjoys the food network, and she has a goal to go to all of the food network chefs’ restaurants. (She has completed 5 so far!)

Email: cmk6jm@virginia.edu

 

Meltem Yucel

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Meltem is a third year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology. She is also a fellow in the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE Academy). Prior to attending UVa, she received her B.A in Psychology from Ozyegin University in 2015. Meltem is interested in children’s social and moral development, specifically focusing on how and when children become moral beings.

Email: nmy2bg@virginia.edu

 

Stefen Beeler

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Stefen received his BA degree from the University of Tennessee in Psychology. He continued his education at Boston University, where he received an M.A. in Psychology focused on Developmental Psychology. Stefen gained experience in many developmental and social neuroscience labs in Boston, including the Boston University Social Development and Learning Lab, Harvard University Moral Cognition Lab, as well as the Harvard University Social Cognitive Development Group. Stefen is interested in children’s altruistic behavior and cooperation. He loves the outdoors and is excited to explore Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley.

Email: sjb3px@virginia.edu

 

Lab Coordinator

Katrina Farris

Katrina Farris

Katrina received her B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Michael Gaffrey at the Early Emotional Development Program where she completed a supplemental concentration research project investigating the effects of risk factors on cortisol levels in response to stressful stimuli in preschool-aged children. Working now as the lab coordinator for both the ESDL and the Babylab, she hopes to continue gaining experience in developmental psychology research before continuing her education. Katrina also enjoys spending time outdoors, yoga, and reading!

Email: kf3ye@virginia.edu