School of Psychology - Research & Industry - Featured Researchers - Nicole Nelson

Featured Researcher - Nicole Nelson

Dr Nelson researches how children (and adults) understand emotional expressions

Nicole Nelson

How did you get into psychology?

I knew I was interested in psychology and working specifically with children when I went to university, but it was when I volunteered as a research assistant in an infant lab as part of my undergrad coursework that I was sure I wanted to do psychological research. In the infant lab, we were trying to see if infants could take someone else's perspective, and I was fascinated by the process of creating a task that allowed infants to show us what they knew (because we couldn't just ask them!).  And it's a process that I still enjoy. 

What do you think makes a good psychology researcher?

Others in this space have mentioned really important ingredients that make up a good researcher (curiosity, integrity, attention to detail, hard work, etc.) but one thing that I don't think has been mentioned enough is that a good researcher is equal parts logical and creative. You need to be able to take a big picture view of the field you are interested in, boil that down to the most basic, essential question, and then develop creative ways to test that question and evaluate existing theories. It's great fun! 

What are you researching at the moment?

Broadly, I am interested in understanding how children (and adults) understand emotional expressions.  Some the specific questions I'm working on now include: how we integrate facial, postural, and vocal expression information; our incorporation of situational information into emotion understanding; what role movement plays in expression recognition; how cultural information informs our understanding of others’ expressions; and how children decide which expressions to learn about.

Tell us something that people might be interested to know about you.

When not hanging out in the School, I can usually be found playing in the garden.  Orchids are my favourite (when I moved to Australia, I managed to buy an orchid before I had purchased any furniture), but I'm also working on a respectable herb garden, and a bumper crop of tomatoes.  

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Created: Friday, 6th November 2015 by uqpjack1
Modified: Friday, 6th November 2015 by uqpjack1
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