Lab Director

I study early social-cognitive development in children living in diverse social contexts. My research has three primary objectives. First, I examine current theories spanning psychology, anthropology and education to determine whether they are Western-biased or generalizable to other contexts. Second, I examine how the first seven years of life impact the developing mind. My past research has demonstrated a remarkable number of similarities across diverse contexts, such as early parenting behaviours. Yet, we also find striking differences in parental socialization goals and behaviour depending on context. Third, I aim to involve communities in the research process with the goal of having citizen-led research objectives. I have served as one of six international council members and advisories on the UK’s Board of Directors for Child and Family Blog and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Adversity and Resilience Science (AARS).

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Graduate students

yitong wang, MA

PhD Student

Early prosocial development cross culture: Focusing on the role of parents in children’s early prosocial development from a cross-cultural perspective 

Motor development cross culture: Investigating the relationship between early parenting practices and infants’ locomotion proficiency in their natural settings

Srujana Duggirala, MA

PhD Student

I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Area at Simon Fraser University. I am working under the supervision of Dr. Tanya MacGillivray. My current research areas are exploring the mechanisms underlying a culture-specific self-concept and understanding the contrasting sleep arrangements of infants in different parts of the world. Knowledge translation is another key area of my interest. Beyond academic pursuits, I engage in activities such as meditating, knitting, and learning new languages


Zahra Halavani, MA

MA Student

I am currently in my second year of the M.A. program in developmental psychology, actively engaged in research at the Culture and Development Lab since 2022. My research revolves around exploring parent-infant interactions across diverse cultural contexts. Beyond academia, I find solace in practicing yoga and exploring new destinations during my free time.  


Hilary Aime, MA

PhD Student

Camouflaging among children: Investigating informant discrepancies between parent- and teacher-reported autistic characteristics.

lab members

Nicole Poynton, BA

Lab Manager and RA

I am in my last year at SFU pursuing a psychology major and learning and developmental disabilities minor. I am hoping to broaden my knowledge and understanding of children's development while volunteering in the lab. In September, I will be starting a master's in occupational therapy. 

Madeline Hallson

Research Assistant

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at SFU. Having the opportunity to volunteer in Dr. MacGillivray’s Culture and Development Lab provides me with valuable experience and insights into infant-directed behaviour and cultural diversity. I am looking forward to future opportunities post-graduation which may include pursuing graduate studies.

Megan Simpson

Research Assistant

I am a second-year psychology student with the intentions of graduating with a BA in psychology with honours. After my undergrad, I hope to attend graduate school in pursuit of a Master’s and PhD in psychology.

Brittany Biggs

Research Engagement Student

I'm a fourth year psychology student with a minor in linguistics. I am currently enrolled in a research engagement course with the Culture and Development lab. After graduation I hope to continue in this field of study at graduate school. In my spare time I can be found exploring the outdoors.

Johnny Tari

Field Lab Manager

Lab Alumni

Gülce Ozker, MA


Senay Cebioglu, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Human Behaviour, Ecology and Culture
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Sheina Lew-Levy, Ph.D

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology, Durham University

Andrea Smit, Ph.D

User Experience Researcher

Google via Adecco 

Previous Graduate Students

John Corbit, PhD - Assistant Professor, St. Francis Xavier University

Patrick Carolan, PhD - Lecturer, St. Mary's University

Previous Undergraduate Students

Erika Binder - Honour Student 2023

Aislynn Sharrock - Honour Student 2023

Nicole Pidperyhora - Honour Student 2022

Tristan Raymond - Honour Student 2021

Laila Namur - Honour Student 2016

Aleksandra Partyka

Alana Pace

Kelsey Tham

Alissa-Leigh Hewton

Annissa Wimer

Jasmine Malcolm

Mariana Cerqueira Coutinho Gorjao

Arpit Toteja

Colin Bowbrick

Donna Tafreshi