Our Director


Ece Demir-Lira, Ph.D.

Director, Development, Experience and Neurocognition Lab

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Demir-Lira received her PhD from the University of Chicago and completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Her research program is aimed at understanding how early environmental and biological factors interact in predicting children's academic outcomes - in both typically-developing children and children with atypical developmental trajectories. Her work leverages a diverse array of methods, including naturalistic parent-child observations, experimental designs and neuroimaging methods (MRI, fMRI and fNIRS). Representative publications can be viewed on GoogleScholar.

Email: ece-demirlira@uiowa.edu
Office: PBSB 275
Résumé/Curriculum Vitae: PDF icondemirlira_cv_jan20.pdf



Research Coordinator

Haley Laughlin

Haley is the Lab Coordinator for the DEN Lab. She graduated from the University of Iowa's psychology program. She hopes to pursue a career in research that focuses on the study of the mechanisms of emotion and the environmental factors that influence a child's emotion regulation success. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, rollerblading, and concerts.

Graduate Research Assistants

Paige Nelson

Paige is a PhD student in the individualized training program, with a focus in developmental science. She is interested in studying plasticity in the developing brain and specifically neurocognitive development in children born premature. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with friends and family. 

Email: paige-nelson@uiowa.edu


Francesca Scheiber

Francesca is a Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. She is interested in studying socioeconomic differences in early childhood experiences that influence children’s academic, cognitive, and socioemotional outcomes. In her free time, she enjoys time with family and friends, travel, and yoga. 



Undergraduate Research Assistants

Julianne Maxwell

Julianne is a fourth-year psychology major. She likes to spend time with friends and family and her two dogs

Lindsey Bach

Lindsey is pursuing her undergraduate in Psychology along with minors in Dance, Spanish, and Educational Psychology. In her free time she likes to be active outside and hangout with her dog Stella.

Sabrina Brown


Verona Victoria

Verona is pursuing a B.S. in Psychology along with a minor in Art and Sociology. She is excited to work with kids and enjoys listening to music during her free time! 

Annamaria Iarrapino

Annamaria is a Psychology major with minors in human relations and educational psychology. Her research interests focus on children's academic development. She loves working and playing with kids! Annamaria is interested in a future career where she can help kids thrive and grow in their life.

Sam Clingan Silverly

Sam graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Psychology. They are dedicating their time to researching gestures and their applications in education. In their free time, they like to play video games and watch anime. 

Laxmi Annapureddy


Hayley Bassett

Hayley is pursuing a BA in Psychology on the Pre-Medicine Track with a minor in Sports Studies. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, travelling, and spending time with her family and friends. 

Eden Conroy

Eden is doing a double major in Psychology and Education Studies and Human Relations, with a Minor in Music, and a Certificate in Resilience and Trauma Informed Perspectives. In her free time, she enjoys playing cello, watching movies, and spending time with friends. 


Emily Krogstad

Emily is a rising junior pursuing BAs in Psychology and Criminology with a minor in Music. She intends to pursue higher education in the psychology fields, but for now she enjoys listening to music and spending time with her dog, London.


We also have many wonderful research collaborators:

  • Kelli Ryckman (University of Iowa)
  • Ilaria Berteletti (Gallaudet University)
  • Tilbe Göksun (Koç University)
  • Aylin C. Kuntay (Koç University)
  • Susan C. Levine (University of Chicago)
  • Susan Goldin-Meadow (University of Chicago)
  • Steve Raudenbush (University of Chicago)
  • Steve Small (University of California - Irvine)
  • James R. Booth (Vanderbilt University)

Graduates of the DEN Lab

We are proud of and miss our RAs who graduates from the DEN and went on to accomplish bigger and better things!:

  • Shania Enriquez
  • Emily Sones (University of Iowa, Master's in Counseling) 
  • Alexis Potocki (Motion Recruitment)
  • Stephanie LeBlanc
  • Raquel Gomez
  • Nateshia Wilson
  • Andrew O'Neill (Digital Marketing Specialist, Clickstop Inc.)