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Who we are

Dr Laura K Taylor
Dr Laura K Taylor

Laura K Taylor (PhD) is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology in the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations. She has a dual doctorate in psychology and peace studies. Laura’s research is framed by an intergroup developmental approach to study risk and resilience processes for youth in settings of protracted conflict. Her work has implications for youth outcomes, such as aggression, prosocial behaviours and social identity, as well as broader psychosocial processes, such as shared education and intergroup relations, which may fuel or constrain conflict. Toward this end, she studies how and why violence affects behaviours and attitudes related to conflict transformation, primarily during adolescence. Through teaching and mentoring, Laura engages undergraduate and graduate students in research that is sensitive to the psychological needs of individuals and communities, particularly in divided societies.


Jocelyn Dautel
Dr Jocelyn Dautel

Jocelyn Dautel is a Lecturer (Education) in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University, Belfast. Jocelyn holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago.  Jocelyn is interested in the development of social cognition, or in other words, how young children think about the world around them and navigate their social relationships. Her research uses experimental methods from cognitive and social psychology to understand the processes underlying children’s thinking about social groups, with a particular emphasis on how social context influences these processes.


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Risa Rylander

Risa Rylander recently completed her MSc in the Psychology of Childhood Adversity at Queen’s University Belfast. Her thesis project involved how primary school children begin to develop and recognize social categories. In particular, how different types of primary schools in post-accord Northern Ireland may affect the concreteness or fluidity of those social categories. Since joining the Helping Kids! team, her work has involved children’s recognition of various types of social cues commonly ascribed to a particular social category or background.



Dean O’Driscoll

Dean O’ Driscoll is a PhD student within the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast.Operating within a developmental intergroup framework, Dean’s research investigates the role of empathy in the development of intergroup attitudes and helping behaviours of primary school children living in post-accord Northern Ireland.  The research aims to develop effective interventions within Northern Ireland’s shared education system, to foster positive intergroup relations among children in a post-conflict generation. Dean’s research also looks at children’s recognition of group membership cues such as symbols, forenames and labels within the context of Northern Ireland.