Our research

Chris Askew

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

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

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

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. 

Katie Gilligan-Lee

Katie Gilligan-Lee's research focuses on how an understanding of cognitive development, can be used to inform and improve education. My current research specifically focuses on spatial and mathematical development, in both typical and atypical populations including individuals with Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and DCD. I am interested in understanding the factors that influence success in mathematics including: cognitive predictors such as spatial thinking, memory and language; affective predictors like mathematics anxiety; and early home factors like mathematical play and spatial language exposure. My research also explores the efficacy of cognitive interventions including spatial cognition training, lego training and Taekwondo interventions for  improving cognitive and educational outcomes.  My research portfolio includes a range of methodological approaches such as secondary analysis of nationally representative cohort study data, e.g., the Millennium Cohort Study; meta-analyses; cross-sectional experimental-based approaches to studying development; and intervention-based research.​

Deborah Gooch

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

Alexandra Grandison's research aims to investigate the contribution of language, higher cognitive processes, and low-level perceptual mechanisms to categorisation across development. 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. 

Hayley Leonard

Hayley Leonard conducts research into typical and atypical development and has specific expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Williams syndrome, and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD; sometimes known as ‘dyspraxia’). Her research has focused on motor development and its relationship to cognitive skills (e.g., executive functioning and academic outcomes) and social cognition (e.g., face processing and language development). Hayley is the Director of the Motor Development and Impact (MoDI) Lab.

Joanna Moss

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.

Terry Ng-Knight

Terry Ng-Knight's research focuses on individual differences in personality, particularly traits and motivation.  Much of my research focuses on ‘positive’ traits like self-control and motivation. My main interests lie in the lifespan development of personality and interventions that may improve ‘positive’ personality characteristics.

Mojtaba Soltanou

Mojtaba Soltanou'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

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.

Alessandra Valentini

Alessandra Valentini's research spans language development, reading, bilingualism and cognitive development. She is particularly interested in the effect of presentation modality on language comprehension and language acquisition (particularly vocabulary acquisition), and the relationship between cognitive, language and reading skills, in both monolingual and bilingual populations

Emma Williams

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.

Naomi Winstone

Naomi Winstone is interested in the process of being assessed and receiving feedback. This can be uncomfortable, and we have many clever strategies for avoiding the potentially useful information contained within feedback from others. Her current work explores cognitive processing of feedback information, using behavioural measures and ERPs. She is also conducting research into decision-making processes in educational assessment.

Contact us

Find us

Address

Lewis Carroll Building (AC)
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey
GU2 7XH