Ms Nichole Rose Breeland
Nichole Breeland is a PhD candidate supervised by Dr Annette Henderson at The University of Auckland. She is particularly interested in social cognition and how internal processes affect behavioural outcomes across the lifespan. Her enthusiasm for social cognition and lifespan development began in 2016 when she undertook a research assistant position in a child development lab at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Here, she investigated four- to eight-year-olds' trust in expert testimony in regards to food safety. This experience, paired with a growing interest in designing creative experiments directed at uncovering advanced socio-cognitive process in young children, prompted her to pursue her PhD at the University of Auckland in New Zealand in September 2017.
Research | Current
Nichole's PhD research focuses on social-cognitive development across the first two years of life. Specifically, she examines how bio-ecological systems such as parents' personality and values, impact pre-verbal infants' mental representations of shared-goals and toddlers' ability to coordinate and attain shared-goals with others. Nichole aims to construct a "cooperative phenotype" which identifies the relationships between two-year-olds' social-cognitive abilities (e.g., intention understanding, attention capacity, and person perception) and their cooperative ability (i.e., ability to attain a shared-goal).
Teaching | Current
Graduate teaching assistant & head tutor for PSYCH 326 (Lifespan Development) - Semester 1, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate teaching assistant for PSYCH 311 (Advanced Topics in Social Psychology) - Semester 2, 2019
Graduate teaching assistant & head tutor for PSYCH 399 (Capstone: Communicating Psychology) - Semester 2, 2020
Supervised by: Dr Annette Henderson
Co-supervised by: Professor Quentin Atkinson
University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship (2017)
University of Auckland Exposure Poster Competition Finalist (2019)
Project manager (The Ontological Roots of Cooperative Action longitudinal study)
Research assistant (Early Learning Lab)
Areas of expertise
Socio-cognitive development in infancy and early childhood.
Psi Chi (The International Honor Society in Psychology): 2015 - Current
Int'l PhD Student Representative - (Psychology Post Graduate Staff-Student Consultative Committee): 2018 - Current
Post Graduate Staff-Student Consultative Committee Chair (School of Psychology): 2019 - 2020
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- McRae, C., Breeland, N. R., Meinhardt, I., Graham, B., & Henderson, A. (19/10/2019). Infants’ joint attention abilities foster social connections with cooperative partners, but interfere with cooperative ability.. Poster presented at Cognitive Development Society, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Infants’ joint attention abilities foster social connections with cooperative partners, but interfere with cooperative ability.. Related URL.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Inge Meinhardt, Annette Henderson