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


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.


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.


Yixin Tang
Graduate student
Co-advised with Sander Thomaes and Sheida Novin, Utrecht University

Yixin obtained her BSc degree in Psychology and MEd degree in Developmental Psychology at Beijing Normal University, China.

She is interested in children emerging self-views, especially in middle to late childhood, when children gradually form domain-specific evaluations of their competence. She is also interested in the way children pursue desirable self views. She studies the self-system through a cross-cultural lens.

photo Kelly

Kelly Ziemer
Graduate student
Co-advised with Valerie Shapiro, University of California-Berkeley

Kelly obtained her Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA and her MSc in International Business from SKEMA Business School, France. She completed her Master of Social Work from CUNY-Hunter College, USA and is a licensed social worker in New York.

She is a therapist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based interventions. Kelly seeks to blend her practice experience with her research interests in emotions, prevention science, and behavioral health. Her dissertation explores the lay theory of self-love within a social media and addiction recovery context.


  • Lining (Rachel) Sun, 2017-2019, Graduate student, co-advised with Carol Dweck, Stanford University. She obtained her PhD in 2019 and is now a Postdoc at the National University of Singapore. 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.