Lab Members

Earl Woodruff
Lab Director

[Image of Dr. Earl Woodruff]

Dr. Woodruff was appointed Chair of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2015.

His scholarship and teaching focus on computer supported learning environments and flexible modes of education; technology, play and gaming. His recent research interests have incorporated investigations into emotion and cognitive engagement. In this work, computerized real-time measurement of facial expressions is used to measure academic performance and engagement through the real-time monitoring of student emotions, which are directly linked to academic learning, classroom instruction, and achievement. He anticipates that this research will lead to greater understanding of engagement in learning, and provide a means to help students regulate their learning, manage negative emotions that arise during learning, and experience knowledge building as positive and enjoyable.

Currently Dr. Woodruff and his lab are investigating questions related to the real-time monitoring of emotion processes, how emotions affect cognitive processes and subsequent learning, and how knowledge-driving emotions, such as confusion and curiosity, facilitate and maintain meaningful learning. 

[Image of Dr. Zhenhua Xu]

Dr. Zhenhua Xu, PhD

Zhenhua, once a Montessorian, recently completed her PhD in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development. 

Her research focuses on examining the psychosocial determinants of students’ optimal learning pathways in complex scientific learning with advanced learning technologies. The backbone of her research is motivation and emotion in achievement settings. She aims to use person-specific process model parameters to create computational models that can be used to track students’ learning processes and provide real-time, context-aware, person-centered interventions for improving and maximizing students’ learning. 

[Image of Dr. Gabriella Lancia]

Dr. Gabriella Lancia, PhD

Gabriella is a recent graduate from the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Integrated Studies, a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Education from Brock University. Her research interests include: 1) mental health in the helping professions (education, psychology) and 2) how emotions and self-regulation impact instructional practices in post-secondary and elementary education.




[Image of Rose Schnabel]

Rose Schnabel
PhD Candidate

Rose is a 5th year PhD Candidate. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at York University, a Master of Arts in Child Psychology at Laurentian University, and a Master of Social Work at New York University. She is Registered Social Worker, Registered Psychotherapist and Board Certified Biofeedback Practitioner with BCIA. She specializes in Peak Performance Training for Athletes and stress management in Post-Concussion Syndrome recovery. Her research interests are 1) the management of emotion and stress response during optimal cognitive states and, 2) the effect of Mindfulness, Biofeedback and self-awareness on executive function tasks.  

[Image of Dr. Matthew Moreno]

Dr. Matthew Moreno, PhD

Matthew is a recent graduate of the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music) and Bachelor of Education from York University, a Master of Education degree in Curriculum Studies & Teacher Development at OISE, and is an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). Using the latest multi-channel, multi-modal data collection tools, his research studies how music affects emotions, cognitive decision making, and regulatory process while learning. In addition to his research, he remains active as a lecturer and music educator.





[Image of Stephanie Buono]

Stephanie Buono
PhD Candidate

Stephanie is a 5th year student in the Developmental Psychology & Education program. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and completed her Master of Arts (MA) degree in Developmental Psychology & Education at OISE. Her research interests include 1) how emotions affect children’s cognitive processes during learning 2) how children’s understanding of emotions contribute to self-regulation during learning 

[Image of Ana Zdravkovic]

Ana Zdravkovic
PhD Student

Ana is a 3rd year PhD Student in the Developmental Psychology & Education Program. She obtained her bachelors degree in Psychology from McGill University, and completed her Master of Arts (MA) in Developmental Psychology & Education program at OISE in 2019. She is interested in studying 1) the pattern of real time emotions associated with math anxiety in populations of children 2) how we can reduce the development of math anxiety in young children using technology as possible intervention.

[Image of Ying Yao]

Ying Yao (Sharon)
PhD Student

Ying Yao (Sharon) is a PhD student in Applied Psychology & Human Development with a Master of Arts degree in Developmental Psychology and Education from OISE, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research interests include: 1) Children’s stress and emotional development, specifically investigating how potential psychosocial stressors influence children’s physiological stress level; 2)  Develop stress interventions, especially interested in the effects of aromatherapy in reducing stress and improving cognitive functions; 3) Emotional patterns in game addictive behavior by using real time psychophysiological and emotional indicators.

Image of Agnes

[Image of Agnes Wong]

Agnes Wong
PhD Student

Agnes is a 3rd year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and Master in Occupational Therapy at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Master of Arts (MA) in Developmental Psychology and Education at OISE. She is a registered Occupational Therapist in Ontario and Hong Kong. She is interested in studying how the need to maintain eye contact influences physiological reactivity and cognitive performance in autism spectrum disorder.


[Image of Mandana Jafarian]

Mandana Jafarian
EdD Student

Mandana is a 2nd year EdD Student in the department of Applied Psychology & Human Development. She obtained her Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ryerson University and bachelor’s degree (BSc) in Computer Engineering from University of Tehran. She is interested in 1) studying how students’ emotions affect their learning and 2) utilizing assistive technology to increase students’ focus and engagement to improve their learning experience. She is currently looking into Misophonia and its auditory triggers. 

[Image of Milan Lazic]

Milan Lazic
Ph.D. Student

Milan is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology and Education Program (DPE). In 2021, he received his MA in DPE and in 2020 he received his B.Sc. in Psychology and Cognitive Science at University of Toronto. His current research focuses on how emotions interact with personality and grit to shape how learners achieve an understanding of academic concepts or arguments. 



Practicum Students


Caroline Tessy 

Sofia Do Rosario

Zainab Azim (ROP)

Yuchen Xue

Teresa Orbillo

Selena Chen