Celebrating and highlighting the good stuff

A lot of psychology studies the stuff that goes wrong. In our lab we also like to look at, and celebrate what goes right.  Drawing on data collected as part of the Growing Up in NZ longitudinal study, to date we have explored the hopes and dreams of parents, the highlights of being a parent, and what the kids say is the best thing about being them. This research is on going as more data is collected about the cohort children and their families. See here for some of the publications related to this work.

Promoting positive conversations about errors, setbacks, failure and learning

Talking about everyday mistakes and failures is important because it helps to normalize a fundamental aspect of the human experience. In discussing every day failures as part of a learning cycle we create opportunities to identify, normalize and discuss emotions,  explore ways to regulate them, learn about different ways of solving problems and the resources we can draw on to help. In doing all this we can grow confidence in people’s ability to manage future potentially bigger setbacks and challenging situations.

However, talking about mistakes and failure is hard and people are affected very differently by it. In our lab we are interested in how and whether making space to discuss failure, mistakes and errors, can help remove the stigma associated with failure and create an environment where risks can be taken, ideas explored and lessons are learned without affecting wellbeing.

We are currently conducting research looking at how parents and children talk about setbacks and how this relates to their children’s development of resilience.

The lab collaborates with other researchers in the Failure Research Network



Educational beliefs and expectations

Educational beliefs and expectations are the underlying values, assumptions, and anticipations that guide the practices and outcomes in education. An individual’s academic expectations and educational beliefs and conceptions shape how they approach learning, what they learn and can drive motivation. We are interested in parents and children’s expectations and beliefs about learning and achievement and the impact these beliefs have of student learning and wellbeing. See here for some of the publications related to this work.


Imposter Phenomenon

The impostor phenomenon, or impostor syndrome, is often described as a pattern of thinking in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” despite external evidence of their competence. Those experiencing this phenomenon often report that they do not deserve the success they have achieved, often attributing their success to luck or the ability to deceive others rather than to their own competence or effort.  Our lab is interested in the different ways the imposter phenomenon is described, experienced and measured both personally and in academic and online environments.

Longitudinal Research with the Growing Up in NZ Cohort

Growing Up in New Zealand is a longitudinal research study that aims to provide a detailed and contemporary view of what it’s like to grow up in New Zealand in the 21st century. Launched in 2008, this study is following the lives of more than 6000 rangatahi and their families, with the first set of data collected before they were born.

The primary goal of the study is to provide insights into a wide range of developmental outcomes, including health, education, emotional well-being, relationships, and cultural identity. By tracking these children over time, we hope to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the various factors that influence development, such as family dynamics, socioeconomic status, education, and community support.

Numerous research projects have been conducted in this lab using this rich and treasured resource including exploring the media environment of children, their socio-emotional, self control and temperament development, their academic expectation and the hopes and dreams and highlights and challenges of parent and their children.