Chris Askew investigates the development of emotions such as fear, anxiety and disgust in childhood. He is particularly interested in how children can learn to fear certain animals, objects and situations after observing other people's negative emotional responses to them. Current projects are typically looking at early risk and resilience factors, as well as how we might prevent fear and anxiety from developing in childhood.
Martyn Barrett works on the development of intercultural competence; the development of political and civic attitudes, cognition, active participation and global citizenship; the development of prejudice, stereotyping and intergroup attitudes; the identifications and cultural practices of ethnic minority, mixed-heritage and ethnic majority children and youth; and children’s national and ethnic enculturation. He is currently leading a flagship Education project for the Council of Europe “Competences for Democratic Culture”, which is developing a comprehensive integrated description of the competences that young people require for participating effectively in democratic culture and intercultural dialogue.
Emily Farran is interested in spatial cognition in typical and atypical populations. Her current research in typically developing children, and individuals with Autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Attention Hyperactivity Disorder, and Developmental Coordination Disorder includes the areas of navigation, motor performance, mental imagery, spatial language, perceptual integration, visuo-spatial memory and orientation coding. Her most recent research interest relates to the relationship between spatial thinking and Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) in primary school age children.
Judith Gentle’s primary area of interest is Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), an idiopathic movement disorder which affects areas such as coordinated movement, balance and perception. Judith is particularly interested in perception and how the development of the sensory systems affects our ability to plan everyday movements such as walking. Judith is currently investigating how the kinematic properties of a movement (such as fluidity and coordination) are used to evaluate the social abilities of others.
Debbie Gooch's research interests span typical and atypical development of language, literacy, attention/behaviour and executive function. Her research seeks to understand the cognitive underpinnings of disorders such as Language Disorder, Dyslexia and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Specifically, she is interested in exploring the comorbidity between neurodevelopmental disorders and investigating how this affects children's educational and social, emotional and mental health outcomes.
Alexandra Grandison's research aims to investigate the contribution of language, higher cognitive processes, and low-level perceptual mechanisms to categorisation across development and in a range of clutures. She is particularly interested in the nature and development of colour perception and cognition and has investigated aspects of colour perception in infancy and early childhood such as colour preference, colour salience, colour term acquisition and the role of colour in infant object recognition. Alexandra’s work also explores the impact of colour on performance in achievement contexts. These projects constitute an ongoing body of research that has been conducted at the Surrey Baby Lab, of which she is the Director.
Joanna Moss's research is primarily focused on understanding the prevalence, profile and social-cognitive mechanisms underlying the development of autism and related characteristics in individuals with rare genetic syndromes. Her work combines ‘real world’ behaviour observation with in-depth profiling of social-cognitive abilities to enable greater precision in the assessment and diagnosis of autism in these groups.
Mojtaba Soltanlou's overarching questions that drive his research program are how children acquire knowledge and develop cognitive skills, and why some children experience difficulties in those skills. My research is preoccupied with high-level cognitive processes (i.e., executive functions, and numerical, temporal and spatial cognition). In recent years I have focused on mathematical cognition because it provides an excellent case study of cross-cutting issues in cognitive development such as individual differences, and intersects with the development of other processes such as magnitude, executive functions, and language. I use a variety of behavioural and neuroscientific research methods such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), EEG, and brain stimulation, and different designs like interventional and longitudinal investigations.
Harriet Tenenbaum is interested in how children learn from everyday interactions with others, such as conversations with parents and peers. Her research explores how children learn about everyday science and emotion understanding. Much of this work has focused on how child gender influences conversations about science and emotion. She also focuses on children’s reasoning about social issues, such as children’s rights (and especially rights for others) and rejection based on social groups.
Emma Williams conducts qualitative investigations of how high-functioning individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) make sense of other people. Her research explores autism and the sociocultural context of object use, the inclusion of children with ASD into mainstream schooling and the development of social understanding, play and humour in infancy.
Michael Pluess joined the University of Surrey in 2023 as a Professor of Developmental Psychology. He is a chartered psychologist and spends most of his day researching how environmental experiences shape the course of psychological development across the life course. Michael’s main research focus deals with questions related to developmental plasticity, the understanding that experiences while growing up affect developmental outcomes. More specifically, he is interested in individual differences in the capacity for such developmental plasticity as a function of different individual characteristics (e.g., genetic variants, personality traits etc.).
Angelica Ronald moved to the University of Surrey in 2023 as Professor of Psychology and Genetics. She studied Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2000 before receiving her PhD in Quantitative Genetics from King's College London. Angelica’s postdoc was funded by an Autism Speaks fellowship in which she gained training in Molecular Genetics. She joined Birkbeck, University of London in 2007 as a lecturer, where she established the Genes Environment Lifespan (GEL) lab. Angelica became Professor of Psychology and Genetics in 2017 and co-founded the London Genetics Network in 2020.
Yetta Wong joined the University of Surrey in 2022. She received her PhD degree in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience from the Psychology Department at Vanderbilt University. She then worked as an Assistant Professor in different specialised areas, including Psychology (at City University of Hong Kong), Educational Neuroscience (at University of Hong Kong) and Educational Psychology (at the Chinese University of Hong Kong). Yetta’s research focuses on perceptual training and expertise; musical notation recognition and sight-reading; absolute pitch; object recognition; and word recognition and dyslexia.