How our kindergarten helps psychology research

Psychology at the University of Stirling has a long history of forward-thinking excellence in developmental research. Our University researchers conduct innovative and world-leading child development research and teaching. 

The Psychology Kindergarten is invaluable for our research and teaching activities, which aim to enhance the experience of our students by providing them with a unique ‘real world’ setting for studying developmental psychology.

You can find out more about the research interest and expertise of our staff below.

Parents and research

Parents can be reassured that all research projects are carried out to rigorous health and safety standards, and are passed through our University ethics committee. We also follow General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When you register your child, you can decide whether or not you are happy for your child to participate in our research activities.

We create an active, mutual community between staff and parents by feeding back results of our studies to the current and future parents of children in our Kindergarten. Once a year parents are invited to an Open Day where they can learn about the most recent studies, and discuss findings with researchers.

At the end of June we also provide parents with a research booklet showcasing the research that took place in the last year. You can access the Psychology Kindergarten research booklet.

Research facilities

The Kindergarten offers excellent research facilities, including several video-monitored testing rooms and a one-way mirror observation room. We use a variety of approaches, ranging from observational studies, free-play paradigms, and experimental studies, including eye-tracking and neuroimaging.

Contact our researchers

You can contact any of our researchers to discuss their projects.

Main Researchers


Area of Research

Dr Jan Kuipers

I’m interested in speech perception and the development of a mental lexicon in mono- and bilingual infants and toddlers using Event Related Potentials (ERP) and eye-tracking techniques.

Dr Sarah Vick

I’m interested in nonverbal communication, human animal interactions and outdoor learning.

Dr Eva Rafetseder

My research focuses on children’s imaginative thinking. I am interested in how children think about alternative possibilities for past or future events (counterfactual thoughts), and how this affects their understanding of social situations in which people have perspectives that are different from their own.

Dr Stephen Langton

I research eye gaze in children with autistic spectrum disorders (the use of luminance and geometric information).

Prof Christine Caldwell

I am interested in social learning, traditions, and cultural evolution, in nonhumans and humans.

Dr Elizabeth Renner

I study the conditions which affect children’s learning from others (social learning) and learning on their own (individual learning). In addition, I am interested in how non-human primates engage these learning abilities.

Dr Mark Atkinson

I’m interested in how and when children use different types of information to learn. In particular, I’m looking at how children learn from adults and other children, and how this differs to other primates using social information. I’m also interested in language acquisition, and how children may play a part in changing a language as they learn it.

Dr Line Caes

I'm interested in how children learn to deal with events that can cause distress. In particular, I'm interested to find out how they learn from observing how others (kindergarten caregivers and peers) respond to a sad or painful situation.

Dr Catherine Grainger

I am interested in cognitive development, and how cognitive processes differ in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Dr Sobana Wijeakumar

The overarching objective of my research is to understand the behavioural and neural bases of executive functions across the spectrum of life using a suite of behavioural measures, neuroimaging techniques and computational modelling
Dr Gema Martin-Ordas  I am interested in comparative cognition and the evolution of cognitive processes. I study different aspects of physical cognition that can inform us about the cognitive processes that human and non-human animals use to solve problems. 
Dr Sharon Kessler

I'm interested in how children recognise health cues in others and how this ability may develop in association with other aspects of social cognition.

Dr Eilidh Cage 

My research looks at understanding and attitudes towards autism, including in non-autistic children and young people.


Contact us

For any queries please contact the Psychology Kindergarten Manager, Federica Caruso.