Meet the team

Elena Geangu (principal investigator)


I have done all my university degrees at ‘Babes-Bolyai University’ in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. After few years of postdoctoral fellowships around the world and a lectureship at Lancaster University, in October 2017, I took a lectureship in the Department of Psychology at the University of York.

Research Associates

Jakob Kaiser

Jakob_ProfilePictureI studied Computer Science in Greifswald and Cognitive Science in Osnabrueck (Germany). My PhD in Psychology at the University of Sussex deals with the idea that our evaluations and interpretations are not solely the product of our intellectual capacities, but are often influenced by our current body states. In the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab I am working on a project where we want to find out more about infants reactions towards emotional expressions of adults. This might give us new insights into how children learn to understand others’ emotions.

PhD Students

Maria Magdalena Crespo-Llado (a.k.a. Malen)


I received my degree in Psychology at the University of Balearic Islands (Spain), where I had the chance to participate in multiple research projects led by the Developmental Psychopathology group at the Institute of Health Sciences (IUNICS). Later on, I did an MSc on Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Durham University (UK), where I also researched the neural correlates of working memory in adult decision-making. Since 2013, I am a PhD student in the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab and I research infant and toddler empathy development.

 Han Ke


I have a BSc in applied psychology from NanKai University in TianJin, China. After being a counsellor for a few years, I have enrolled for a master’s degree in developmental disorders at Lancaster University (2013-2014). During my master, I researched (with Dr Elena Geangu) the role of affective touch on empathic responses. Currently I am doing my PhD on children’s perception of emotional body expressions.

Postgraduate Research Assistants

IMG_6397Elisa Roberti – I have a BSc in Psychology from University of Milano-Bicocca, and I am currently working on the final dissertation for my MSc in Clinical and Developmental Psychology and Neuropsychology. I am intrested in the first stages of cognitive and social development. Currently I have an Erasmus scholarship which enables me to research how infants integrate the information conveyed by different sensory modalities in the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab.


Amarige Harrison – I have a BSc in Psychology from Lancaster University, where I am currently studying for my MSc in Developmental Disorders. I have previously investigated the relationship between anxiety levels and the perception of emotional body postures in children. I pursue my interest in developmental psychology and social cognition further through my current internship in the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab. In particular, I am keen to investigate how visual and auditory information are integrated during infancy.

IMG_0852Xiaoyun Celia ChenI have a BSc in Psychology from Guangzhou Medical University in Guangzhou, China. I am now doing the final dissertation for my MSc in Psychology of Developmental Disorders at Lancaster University. I am interested in the basic cognitive mechanism of how children perceived emotions, especially those children with different difficulties. Currently, I am studying on how anxious children process emotional face expressions. I really enjoy my life here exploring my academic interest and the beautiful environment.


Rosie MeersI have a BSc in Psychology and now I am currently doing a MSc in Psychological Research Methods, both at Lancaster University. In the Social and Emotional Development Lab, I am especially keen to explore my interests in the socio-emotional development of infants and toddlers and to develop skills in using neurophysiological methods such as EEG to investigate this.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


 Former Lab Members

jess ward

Jess Ward

I am a 3rd year Psychology student at Lancaster University. During my degree I became very interested in learning more about the development of empathy and prosocial behavior during childhood. I am particularly keen in finding out more about how parenting is related to the ontogeny of such important abilities.  Through the internship in the Social and Emotional Development Lab I am developing new research skills which will enable me to further study and investigate this topic.




Sarah Klum

I am from New Hampshire in the United States. I am a 3rd year psychology student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I have also worked as a research assistant in Dr. Erik Cheries’ Infant Cognition Lab and as a Teaching Assistant for Developmental Psychology. I am currently studying abroad at Lancaster University.



Rebecca Simpson