Our research seeks to understand and improve children’s views of themselves. We build upon our shared values of curiosity and hard work.



Fangyuan (Fiona) Liu
Graduate student
Co-advised with Sander Thomaes and Sheida Novin, Utrecht University

Fangyuan obtained her BA degree in Applied Psychology at Wuhan Sports University, China, and her MA degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology at Southwest University, China.

She is interested in children’s self-views and self-presentation. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural differences in early manifestation of children’s modest behavior and children’s evaluations of modest behavior in others.



Çisem Gürel
Graduate student
Co-advised with Geertjan Overbeek, University of Amsterdam

Çisem obtained her BA and MA degree in Psychological Counseling and Guidance at Bogazici University, Turkey, and her Research MA degree in Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

She is interested in how children create and maintain views of themselves, such as narcissism and self-esteem. She investigates how children engage in comparison strategies, such as social comparisons (“I am better than others”) and temporal comparisons (“I am getting better over time”), and how those comparison strategies can be used as interventions to help children flourish.



Efstathios (Stathis) Grapsas
Graduate student
Co-advised with Jaap Denissen, Tilburg University

Stathis obtained his BA degree in Psychology and MA degree in Clinical Psychology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

He is interested in self-views: how they develop, how they manifest, and how they become reinforced through interpersonal experiences. He is particularly interested in narcissism and investigates why and how narcissists pursue social status.



Maud Hensums
Graduate student
Co-advised with Geertjan Overbeek and Helle Larsen, University of Amsterdam

Maud obtained her BA in Pedagogics at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the Netherlands, and her pre-master degree in Orthopedagogics and Research MA degree in Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

She is interested in how social and cognitive processes shape adolescent behavior. She investigates how changing peer norms can improve self-regulation in youth, with the aim to reduce antisocial behavior – such as bullying – in high-schools.


Lining Sun_short

Lining (Rachel) Sun
Graduate student
Co-advised with Carol Dweck, Stanford University

Rachel obtained her BA and MA degree in Psychology at East China Normal University, China.

She is interested in learning and motivation. Her passion lies in helping people thrive in a world that is filled with uncertainty. She investigates whether the current educational system is preparing its students for such kind of future and, if not, what we can do to improve that.