Lab Director


Curriculum Vitae: theo-waters-cv-2021

Dr. Waters is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University Abu Dhabi and a Global Network Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He received his PhD from Emory University in 2013. His research focuses on the development, organization, and impact of attachment representations and representations of self/identity across the lifespan.

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Post-doctoral Associate


Mary earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus in 2018.  For her thesis, she used qualitative and quantitative methods to empirically and theoretically explore ethnic and personal identity development in Fiji and Trinidad. More recently, during the fall semester of 2019, she was a visiting research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Among her research interests is exploring whether sharing autobiographical memories can be used as an intervention to increase social wellbeing (e.g., trust) among individuals who have a strong sense of ethnic identity.   



Post-doctoral Associate


Rui obtained her Ph.D. from the Developmental Psychology program of New York University. Her research focuses on understanding parenting and child's gender development in Chinese context. She has been the coordinator of a multi-cohort 10-year longitudinal study with over 1100 families in Nanjing, China. With Dr. Waters, Rui will explore how early maternal care quality affect Chinese children’s attachment secure script, and their gender development (e.g., masculinity).  



Ph.D. Student


Yufei Gu is a PhD student in Developmental Psychology at New York University - Abu Dhabi Global PhD Program, co-mentored by Dr. Theodore Waters and Dr. Niobe Way. She pursued her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Interactive Media at NYUAD and her Master's Degree in Learning, Science & Technology at University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. She has been working on the coding of mother-child interction videos during infancy. She conducted her bachelor's capstone project on the relationship between infants' attachment security level and their later development of interpersonal relationships. Yufei is interested in the relationship between children's early childhood experience with caregivers and their mental health, academic performance and peer relationships later in life.

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Victoria Zhu

Graduate Research Assistant


Victoria is a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in Social Research & Public Policy, Art History, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Her Capstone Project focused on assessing maternal sensitivity and parenting variables as predictors of child secure attachment scripts in a Chinese context. Victoria hopes to explore developmental psychology in a clinical setting and work in providing culturally sensitive psychotherapy for children and adolescents.

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Anna Noer

Capstone Student


Anna is a senior at New York University Abu Dhabi majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology. She is interested in the relationship between children's attachment experience and their mental health later in life. Her capstone examines longitudinal associations between attachment and psychopathology, specifically observed depression symptoms and self-reported NSSI behaviour in middle adolescence.

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Zaina Iqbal

Capstone Student


Zaina is a senior at New York University Abu Dhabi and is majoring in Psychology along with a minor in Visual Arts. She is passionate about volunteering with children with special needs and hopes to further explore developmental and educational psychology in the future. Her Capstone Project focuses on the role of lawful change - how significant life events (both positive and negative) can cause changes in attachment security in early and late adulthood.