Betty Repacholi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Contact Information
Phone: 206-616-6210
Email: Website:

Betty Repacholi heads the Social and Emotional Development Lab (SEDL). SEDL research is concerned with infants' responses to other people's emotional signals and determining what they understand about these communications. In addition, Dr. Repacholi’s research interests include the relationship between theory of mind and children's social functioning; the effects of early social experience (e.g., attachment) on children's social-cognitive and emotional development; and the ontogeny of human disgust responses.

Ashley Ruba
Ashley Ruba is a third year Ph.D. student in Developmental Psychology. Ashley first discovered infant research in a language development lab at Duke University. Her honors thesis was an interdisciplinary project that examined how infants learned labels for emotional expressions. This study inspired Ashley to continue research as a lab manager at Duke before coming to UW. Specifically, Ashley’s research interests explore how emotion understanding develops throughout infancy and how various factors (e.g., language) might influence this process. The primary goal of her research is to bridge gaps between affective science and developmental psychology.

Former Grad Students

Theresa Hennings
Theresa Hennings received her masters degree in 2015. Theresa earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College, where she worked as a research assistant in a study looking at preschoolers’ understanding of other people’s emotions. After college, she continued child development research in a language and cognition lab at Stanford University. At UW, Theresa examined how infants’ understanding of other people’s emotions influences their behavior, social interactions, and trait attributions. Her research focused on how infants use information about other people’s emotional dispositions to make social evaluations.

Berit Olsen
Berit Olsen received her doctorate degree in 2012. Berit earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Religion from Pacific Lutheran University. After graduating, she spent a year in Norway studying the Norwegian paternity leave system on a Fulbright Grant. Her interests center on emotional development in very young children. In graduate school, Berit and Dr. Repacholi collaborated with Dr. Andrew Meltzoff to examine children’s understanding of the emotional content of adult’s behavior, and how that content affects children’s imitative learning.

Tamara Spiewak Toub
Tamara Spiewak Toub received her doctorate degree in 2012. Tamara pursued two lines of research while in graduate school. The first line of work focused on infants’ understanding of other people’s emotions and how these emotions influence infants’ behavior. In her second line of work, Tamara examined possible developmental benefits of pretend play. Her dissertation research examined the relation between pretend play and executive function (e.g., self-control) in preschoolers. Prior to coming to I-LABS, Tamara earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Harvard University, and then worked in NYC as a research assistant.