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Dr Mele Taumoepeau

Mele Taumoepeau

Email mele@psy.otago.ac.nz
Tel 64 3 479 4029

Dr Mele Taumoepeau’s research interests include preschoolers’ socio-emotional development, the role of parent-child conversations about mental states in preschooler’s children’s social understanding, cross-cultural differences in parent-child conversations about the mind and child language development. She has extensive experience in conducting small scale longitudinal studies with children and their families. For the past three years her research has focused on understanding the role of parent-child conversations in the development of children’s social cognition in Pacific Island families.

Mele trained and practised as a speech and language therapist before obtaining her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Otago in 2006. In 2008 she was awarded a Health Research Council postdoctoral fellowship. She joined the Department of Psychology in 2011. Mele is the former Chair of the Pacific Health Research Council of New Zealand committee and Associate Dean, Pacific for the Sciences Division at the University of Otago.

Teaching

PSYC 112 Thought and Language

PSYC327 Psychology of Language

Research Interests

  • Preschoolers’ socio-emotional development
  • The role of parent-child conversations about mental states in children’s social understanding
  • Cross-cultural differences in parent-child conversations about the mind and child language development

Find out more about Dr Taumoepeau's research interests

Visit the Language and Social Development Lab website

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Publications

Taumoepeau, M. (2015). From talk to thought: Strength of ethnic identity and caregiver mental state talk predict social understanding in preschoolers. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 46(9), 1169-1190. doi: 10.1177/0022022115604393

Theodore, R., Tustin, K., Kiro, C., Gollop, M., Taumoepeau, M., Taylor, N., Chee, K.-S., Hunter, J., & Poulton, R. (2016). Māori university graduates: Indigenous participation in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 35(5), 604-618. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2015.1107883

Taumoepeau, M., & Reese, E. (2014). Understanding the self through siblings: Self-awareness mediates the sibling effect on social understanding. Social Development, 23(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1111/sode.12035

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2008). Stepping stones to others' minds: Maternal talk relates to child mental state language and emotion understanding at 15, 24, and 33 months. Child Development, 79(2), 284-302.

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental states relates to desire language and emotion understanding. Child Development, 77(2), 465-481.

Journal - Research Article

Theodore, R., Tustin, K., Kiro, C., Gollop, M., Taumoepeau, M., Taylor, N., Chee, K.-S., Hunter, J., & Poulton, R. (2016). Māori university graduates: Indigenous participation in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 35(5), 604-618. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2015.1107883

Taumoepeau, M. (2015). From talk to thought: Strength of ethnic identity and caregiver mental state talk predict social understanding in preschoolers. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 46(9), 1169-1190. doi: 10.1177/0022022115604393

Taumoepeau, M., & Reese, E. (2014). Understanding the self through siblings: Self-awareness mediates the sibling effect on social understanding. Social Development, 23(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1111/sode.12035

Taumoepeau, M., & Reese, E. (2013). Maternal reminiscing, elaborative talk, and children's theory of mind: An intervention study. First Language, 33(4), 388-410. doi: 10.1177/0142723713493347

Ruffman, T., Taumoepeau, M., & Perkins, C. (2012). Statistical learning as a basis for social understanding in children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(1), 87-104. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835x.2011.02045.x

Halberstadt, J., Ruffman, T., Murray, J., Taumoepeau, M., & Ryan, M. (2011). Emotion perception explains age-related differences in the perception of social gaffes. Psychology & Aging, 26(1), 133-136. doi: 10.1037/a0021366

Lecce, S., Zocchi, S., Pagnin, A., Palladino, P., & Taumoepeau, M. (2010). Reading minds: The relation between children's mental state knowledge and their metaknowledge about reading. Child Development, 81(6), 1876-1893. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01516.x

Ruffman, T., Murray, J., Halberstadt, J., & Taumoepeau, M. (2010). Verbosity and emotion recognition in older adults. Psychology & Aging, 25(2), 492-497. doi: 10.1037/a0018247

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2008). Stepping stones to others' minds: Maternal talk relates to child mental state language and emotion understanding at 15, 24, and 33 months. Child Development, 79(2), 284-302.

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental states relates to desire language and emotion understanding. Child Development, 77(2), 465-481.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Taumoepeau, M., & Reese, E. (2011). Child-directed speech and child language development in Pacific Island families living in New Zealand. Proceedings of the 12th International Association for the Study of Child Language (ISACL) Congress. Retrieved from http://www.iascl2011.org/

Ruffman, T., Taumoepeau, M., & Perkins, C. (2011). How statistical learning, mother input, and child language might help children to learn about mental states. Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA). (pp. 56). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/ahda2011/

Taumoepeau, M., & Reese, E. (2011). Finding their wings: Young children's mental state understanding in a Pacific Island New Zealand community. Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA). (pp. 55). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/ahda2011/

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2008). Mothers' mental state talk scaffolds children's mental state language and emotion understanding from 15-54 months. Proceedings of the XVIth Infant Studies International Conference. Retrieved from http://www.isisweb.org/view/0/vancouver2008.html

Ruffman, T., & Taumoepeau, M. (2007). How children learn about mental states. Proceedings of the 13th European Developmental Psychology Conference. [CD-ROM] Jena, Germany: European Society for Developmental Psychology. [Abstract]

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental states predicts later mental state language and emotion understanding. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Infant Studies International Conference. Retrieved from http://www.isisweb.org/view/0/conferences.html

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Conference Contribution - Edited volume of conference proceedings

Matthewson, C., Taumoepeau, M., Burnett, G., & Iati, I. (Eds.). (2011). Proceedings of the Pacific Postgraduate Symposium: Pacific Voices VIII. Dunedin, New Zealand: Pacific Islands Centre, University of Otago. 58p.

Taumoepeau, M., Matthewson, C., Burnett, G., & Vakaoti, P. (Eds.). (2010). Proceedings of the Pacific Postgraduate Symposium: Pacific Voices VII. Dunedin, New Zealand: Pacific Islands Centre, University of Otago. 52p.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Taumoepeau, M. (2011, May). Social understanding in Pacific Island families. Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association (NZSTA), Dunedin, New Zealand.

Perkins, C., Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2010, November). Maternal mental state talk and children's social understanding: The role of the self-concept. Verbal presentation at the Psycolloquy Seminar, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Taumoepeau, M. (2009, November). Parental language influences children's developing cognition. Verbal presentation at the Pacific Health Research Symposium, Auckland, New Zealand.

Ruffman, T., Halberstadt, J., Murray, J., Taumoepeau, M., & Ryan, M. (2009, November). Social understanding in older adults. Verbal presentation at the Psycolloquy Seminar, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2009, April). Children's gestures and parental talk about mental states. Verbal presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

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Awarded Doctoral Degree

Taumoepeau, M. M. (2006). Stepping stones to others' minds: The relation between maternal mental and non-mental state input and social understanding in 15-, 24, and 33 month-old children (PhD). University of Otago.

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