Elizabeth Nilsen

Dr. Elizabeth Nilsen

Lab Director

I am an Associate Professor with the Clinical Division of the Psychology Department at the University of Waterloo. My students and I investigate how children learn to communicate and interact successfully with other individuals.

Janel Silva

Janel Silva

Lab Coordinator

Janel is the Lab Coordinator of the Cognitive Development Lab, and graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BA in Honours Psychology. In her 4th year, she conducted an honours thesis investigating the social consequences of errors in communicative perspective taking in adult populations.

Photo of Sarah Bacso

Sarah Bacso

Graduate Student

Sarah is in her fourth year of the MA/PhD program in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in studying the cognitive factors which influence children's ability to communicate effectively. For her master's research, she examined children's ability to clarify their messages once they have been misunderstood by a listener.

Alanna Valcke

Alanna Valcke

Graduate Student

Alanna will be starting her fifth year of the MA/Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology in the Fall of 2019. She is interested in studying how young children learn to work collaboratively with others.

Nicole Gevaux

Nicole Gevaux

Graduate Student
Nicole is in her third year of the MA/PhD program in Clinical Psychology. For her doctoral research, she will continue her line of research investigating how gender and socio-cognitive abilities influence children’s social interactions with peers and performance in competitive environments.
Shirley Ong

Shirley Ong

Graduate Student

Shirley is in her third year of the MA/PhD program in Clinical Psychology. For her MA, she investigated different characteristics that influence how adults interpret different statements, namely literal and ironic messages.

Celina Bowman-Smith

Celina Bowman-Smith

Graduate Student

Celina is in her second year of the MA/PhD program in Clinical Psychology. For her Master's research, she is investigating how socio-cognitive skills influence the communicative choices adolescents' make online.

Siann Gault

Siann Gault

Honours Student

Siann is in her final year of the Honour's Psychology and Business undergraduate program and was our co-op student in the Winter and Spring 2019 terms. She is currently working on her honour's thesis under the joint supervision of Dr. Nilsen and Dr. Heather Henderson (Social Development Lab). 

Randal Gillis

Randall Gillis

Alumni

Randall successfully defended her dissertation investigating children’s use of verbal/nonverbal cues to determine speaker reliability in June 2015. She is currently completing her residency training and will then pursue work as a clinical psychologist in Vancouver, BC.

Vanessa Huyder

Vanessa Huyder

Alumni

Vanessa successfully defended her dissertation in November 2014. Her research focused on the behavioural and cognitive traits that impacted children’s cooperative behaviours. Once she completes her residency training she will work as a clinical psychologist in London, ON.

Tracy Mewhort-Buist

Tracy Mewhort-Buist

Alumni

Tracy graduated from the University of Waterloo's Clinical Pyschology Ph.D. program and has successfully defended her dissertation which investigated the influence of shyness on children's interpretation of figurative language. Tracy is currently working as a clinical psychologist.

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Current studies

We are currently running studies for children aged, 3.5 - 4.5 years and 8 - 10 years. View our current studies page for more information.