Dr Alexandra Grandison (née Clifford)

Director of Learning and Teaching


University roles and responsibilities

  • Director of the Surrey Baby Lab


    Research interests

    Indicators of esteem

    • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy




      Grandison, A., Sowden, P.T., Drivonikou, V.G., Notman, L.A., Alexander, I., & Davies, I.R.L. (2016). Chromatic perceptual learning but no category effects without linguistic input. Frontiers in Psychology: Perception Science, 7, 731. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00731

      Grandison, A., Davies, I.R.L., & Sowden, P.T. (2014). The Evolution of GRUE: Evidence for a new colour term in the language of the Himba. In W. Anderson, C. P. Biggam, C. Hough and C. Kay. Colour Studies: A broad spectrum. Amsterdam, NL: Benjamins, pp. 53-66.

      He, X., Witzel, C., Forder, F., Clifford, A., & Franklin, A. (2014). Color categories only affect post-perceptual processes when same- and different-category colors are equally discriminable. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 31, A322-A331.

      Taylor, C., Clifford A. & Franklin, A. (2013). Color preferences are not Universal. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142, 1015-1028.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A., Drivonikou, V.G., Özgen, E. & Davies, I.R.L. (2012). Neural correlates of acquired colour category effects. Brain and Cognition, 80, 126-143.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2011). Investigating the underlying mechanisms of categorical perception of colour using the Event-Related Potential technique. In C.P. Biggam, C. Hough, C.J. Kay, & D.R.C. Simmons (Eds.), Progress in Colour Studies: New Directions in Colour Studies. Amsterdam, NL, John Benjamins.

      Drivonikou, G.V., Clifford, A., Franklin, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2011). Category training affects colour discrimination but only in the right visual field. In C.P. Biggam, C. Hough, C.J., Kay, & D.R.C. Simmons (Eds.), Progress in Colour Studies: New Directions in Colour Studies. Amsterdam, NL: John Benjamins.

      Clifford, A., Holmes, A., Davies, I.R.L & Franklin, A. (2010). Color categories affect pre-attentive color perception. Biological Psychology, 85, 275-282.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Davies, I.R.L. & Holmes, A. (2009). Electrophysiological markers of categorical perception of colour in 7-month-old infants. Brain and Cognition, 71,165-172.

      Holmes, A., Franklin, A., Clifford, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2009). Neurophysiological evidence for categorical perception of colour. Brain and Cognition, 69, 426-434.

      Franklin, A., Drivonikou, G.V., Clifford, A., Kay, P., Regier, T. & Davies, I.R.L. (2008). Lateralization of Categorical Perception of color changes with color term acquisition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 47, 18221-18225.

      Daoutis, C., Franklin, A., Riddett, A., Clifford, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). Categorical effects in children's colour search: a cross-linguistic comparison. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 24, 373-400.

      Franklin, A., Clifford, A., Williamson, E. & Davies, I.R.L. (2005). Colour term knowledge does not affect categorical perception of colour in toddlers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 90, 114-141.

      Conference presentations

      Grandison, A. (2015). The relationship between noun categorisation and perceptual categorisation: A developmental and cross-linguistic approach. Gender and classifiers: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

      Su Yun Tham, D., Sowden, P.T., Grandison, A., Franklin, A., Lee, A., & Ng, M. (2015). A systematic investigation of colour and concept associations. European Conference on Visual Perception, Liverpool.

      Pedley, A., Grandison, A., & Sowden, P.T. (2015). Could a red pen really lower maths test scores? An investigation of colour driven cognitive effects. European Conference on Visual Perception, Liverpool.

      Almurtaji, Y., Everatt, J., Grandison, A., Winstone, N., Al-Sharhan, A., & Elbeheri, G. (2015). The relationship between behavioural problems and academic achievement in Kuwait primary schools. British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Conference, Oxford.

      Clifford, A., Witzel, C., Chapman, A., French, G., Hodson, R., Skelton, A., Steedman, R., & Franklin, A. (2014). Memory color in infancy? 37th European Conference on Visual Perception, Belgrade. Abstract published in Perception, S43, 151.

      Clifford, A. (2013). The development of colour-object associations. For presentation at a symposium: Shinskey, J. (Convenor). Picture-mediated learning: from associative to symbolic understanding in the first 5 years. British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, Reading.

      Alvarez, J., Clifford, A., Holmes, A., & Franklin, A. (2012). Attention modulates hemispheric lateralisation of categorical colour search: An alternative account for 'Lateralised Whorf'. Progress in Colour Studies, Glasgow.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A., Drivonikou, G.V., Ozgen, E., & Davies, I.R.L. (2012). Neural correlates of acquired categorical perception of colour. Progress in Colour Studies, Glasgow.

      Taylor, C., Clifford, A., & Franklin, A. (2012).The relationship between colour-object associations and colour preference: Further investigation of Ecological Valence Theory. Progress in Colour Studies, Glasgow.

      Clifford, A., Sowden, P.T., & Davies, I.R.L. (2011). Color language does not affect chromatic thresholds. 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Boston.

      Clifford, A. (2011). Using ERPs to investigate visual categorisation in infancy. For presentation at a symposium: Reid, V. (Convenor). ERP studies with infants - a methodology under review. British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, Northumbria.

      Clifford, A., Drivonikou, G.V., Franklin, A., Sowden, P.T., Davies, I.R.L. & Lillo, J. (2011). Newly learned category effects are based on post-perceptual processes. 4th Iberian Conference on Perception, Mallorca

      Taylor, C., Clifford, A., Franklin, A. (2011). Mere exposure influences male colour preference, yet female colour preference remains resistant to change. 11th Vision Sciences Society conference, Florida.

      Franklin, A., Taylor, C., Al-Rasheed, A., Clifford, A. & Alvarez, J. (2011). Biological components of colour preference are not universal. 11th Vision Sciences Society conference, Florida.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2008). The time course and neural markers of infant and adult colour categorisation. 2nd Progress in Colour Studies Conference, Glasgow.

      Drivonikou, G.V., Clifford, A., Franklin, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2008). Category training affects colour discrimination. 2nd Progress in Colour Studies Conference, Glasgow.

      Franklin, A., Clifford, A., Holmes, A., Drivonikou, V.G. & Davies, I.R.L (2008). Neural markers and lateralization of categorization in infancy: the domain of color. For presentation at a symposium: Franklin, A. & Kaldy, Z. (Convenors). Infants' use of color in understanding the physical world. 16th International Conference of Infant Studies, Vancouver.

      Clifford, A. (2008). Infant colour categorisation: An ERP study. 12th Annual Psychology Research Student Conference, Guildford.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2007). Colour categorisation in infancy: An ERP Study. 13th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Jena.

      Clifford, A. (2007). A neurophysiological approach to colour categorical perception. 11th Annual Psychology Research Student Conference, Guildford.

      Clifford, A., Holmes, A., Franklin, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). Neurophysiological evidence of colour categorisation in infancy. British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, London.

      Drivonikou, G.V., Franklin, A., Clifford, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). Hemispheric asymmetries of colour categorisation in infants. British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, London.

      Franklin, A., Holmes, A., Clifford, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). The nature of categorical perception of colour: Neurophysiological evidence from event-related brain potentials on a visual oddball task. Experimental Psychology Section, Plymouth.

      Clifford, A., Franklin, A., Holmes, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). Neurophysiological evidence for categorical perception of colour. 29th European Conference on Visual Perception, St Petersburg. Abstract published in Perception, S35, 192.

      Holmes, A., Clifford, A., Franklin, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2006). The nature of categorical perception of colour: an ERP study. 6th Congress of the Federation of European Psychophysiology Societies, Budapest.

      Franklin, A., Daoutis, C., Clifford, A., Riddett, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2004). Visual search for colour in four-month old infants: The effect of linear separability. 14th Biennial International Conference of Infant Studies, Chicago.

      Franklin, A., Riddett, A., Clifford, A. & Davies, I.R.L. (2003). Language and categorical perception of colour: developmental and cross-cultural approaches. 26th European Conference of Visual Perception, Paris. Abstract published in Perception, S31, 87.

      Public engagement

      • Audio interview: "The First Year of Life", Guardian Virtual Reality, to appear in 2017
      • Consultant: “The Happy Song”, C&G Baby Club, 2016
      • Supporting Learning and Creativity: A Workshop for Stakeholders, 2015
      • Psychology Careers Conference, Guildford Sixth Form Network, 2015
      • Television interview: Story House Productions, ZDF Television, Germany, “The Magic of Colours”, 2015
      • Presenter: Café Scientifique Guildford, September 2014
      • Presenter: Science Showoff, British Science Academy Science Communication Festival, 2014
      • Stand-up comedy: Bright Club Scotland, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2013
      • Audio interview: BBC Radio 4 "Technicolour: Colour Naming", 2013
      • Stand-up comedy: Bright Club Guildford, 2012
      • Magazine interview: Stylist magazine, 2012
      • Magazine interview: Mente & Cervello (Mind and Brain; Italy), 2012
      • Consultant: BBC Horizon “Do You See What I See?”, 2011

      Grandison, A., Franjieh, M., Greene, L. & Corbett, G.G. (2021). Optimal Categorisation: The Nature of  Nominal Classification Systems. Cadernos de Linguística, v. 2, n. 1, e393.

      Katarina Zajacova, Erica Hepper, Alexandra Grandison (2019)Reconciling Diverse Student and Employer Voices on Employability Skills and Work-Based Learning, In: Engaging Student Voices in Higher Educationpp. 209-224 Springer International Publishing

      This chapter focuses on two key challenges that higher education (HE) institutions face when embedding work-based learning (WBL) into their curricula, and the roles that disparate voices play in each. First, we reflect on diversity among students in terms of their needs for WBL in relation to their employability. Considering such diversity, we focus on international students as one key example. Second, we discuss the tensions that arise between the voices of students and employers about their understanding of employability. We argue that greater insight into these voices is needed to move towards a shared understanding of employability. In turn, this will enable HE institutions to maximise the value of their programmes to enable collective actions that empower and benefit students, educators, and employers alike.

      Michael Franjieh, Alexandra Grandison, Anne-Laure Dotte, Greville G. Corbett (2022)Implementing free-listing: possessive classifiers in Oceanic, In: Semantic Fieldwork Methods Department of Linguistics, University of British Columbia

      We evaluate the design and implementation of the free-list experiment, which is a relatively easy method for exploring the membership of semantic categories (Weller & Romney 1988). Different factors that could affect the replicability and validity of the experiment are explored, and these are balanced with the need to work sensitively with speakers of endangered and minority language communities. By including aspects of a Participatory Research approach (van der Riet & Boettiger 2009), such as building rapport and respecting participants' knowledge, the experimenter can extend the free-list experiment to include wider discussions around the linguistic categories under study. We include a case study from our research on Oceanic possessive classifiers to show that a free-list experiment results in a wealth of data, and offers up opportunities for discussing and valorising different speakers' understanding of linguistic categories.

      Michael Franjieh, Greville G. Corbett, Alexandra M Grandison (2021)Uncovering variation in classifier assignment in Oceanic, In: ExLing 2021: Proceedings of 12th International Conference of Experimental Linguistics, 11-13 October 2021, Athens, Greecepp. 81-84 xLing Society

      We discuss the results of a video vignettes experiment that uncovers the variation of noun-classifier assignment in the possessive classifier system of six Oceanic languages. The results show that languages vary in their noun-classifier assignment, with some languages displaying relatively fixed assignment, similar to a grammatical gender system.

      Alexandra Grandison, Michael Franjieh, Lily Greene, Greville G. Corbett, Lily Greene (2021)Optimal categorisation: the nature of nominal classification systems, In: Cadernos de Linguística2(1)e393 Abralin

      The debate as to whether language influences cognition has been long standing but has yielded conflicting findings across domains such as colour and kinship categories. Fewer studies have investigated systems such as nominal classification (gender, classifiers) across different languages to examine the effects of linguistic categorisation on cognition. Effective categorisation needs to be informative to maximise communicative efficiency but also simple to minimise cognitive load. It therefore seems plausible to suggest that different systems of nominal classification have implications for the way speakers conceptualise relevant entities. A suite of seven experiments was designed to test this; here we focus on our card sorting experiment, which contains two sub-tasks — a free sort and a structured sort. Participants were 119 adults across six Oceanic languages from Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with classifier inventories ranging from two to 23. The results of the card sorting experiment reveal that classifiers appear to provide structure for cognition in tasks where they are explicit and salient. The free sort task did not incite categorisation through classifiers, arguably as it required subjective judgement, rather than explicit instruction. This was evident from our quantitative and qualitative analyses. Furthermore, the languages employing more extreme catego-risation systems displayed smaller variation in comparison to more moderate systems. Thus, systems that are more informative or more rigid appear to be more efficient. The study implies that the influence of language on cognition may vary across languages, and that not all nominal classification systems employ this optimal trade-off between simplicity and informa-tiveness. These novel data provide a new perspective on the origin and nature of nominal classification .

      A Grandison, PT Sowden, VG Drivonikou, LA Notman, I Alexander, IR Davies (2016)Chromatic Perceptual Learning but no Category Effects without Linguistic Input, In: Frontiers in Psychology7 Frontiers Media

      Perceptual learning involves an improvement in perceptual judgment with practice, which is often specific to stimulus or task factors. Perceptual learning has been shown on a range of visual tasks but very little research has explored chromatic perceptual learning. Here, we use two low level perceptual threshold tasks and a supra-threshold target detection task to assess chromatic perceptual learning and category effects. Experiment 1 investigates whether chromatic thresholds reduce as a result of training and at what level of analysis learning effects occur. Experiment 2 explores the effect of category training on chromatic thresholds, whether training of this nature is category specific and whether it can induce categorical responding. Experiment 3 investigates the effect of category training on a higher level, lateralized target detection task, previously found to be sensitive to category effects. The findings indicate that performance on a perceptual threshold task improves following training but improvements do not transfer across retinal location or hue. Therefore, chromatic perceptual learning is category specific and can occur at relatively early stages of visual analysis. Additionally, category training does not induce category effects on a low level perceptual threshold task, as indicated by comparable discrimination thresholds at the newly learned hue boundary and adjacent test points. However, category training does induce category effects on a supra-threshold target detection task. Whilst chromatic perceptual learning is possible, learnt category effects appear to be a product of left hemisphere processing, and may require the input of higher level linguistic coding processes in order to manifest.

      Diana Su Yun Tham, Paul T. Sowden, Alexandra Grandison, Anna Franklin, Anna Kai Win Lee, Michelle Ng, Juhyun Park, Weiguo Pang, Jingwen Zhao (2020)A Systematic Investigation of Conceptual Color Associations, In: Journal of experimental psychology. General149(7)pp. 1311-1332 American Psychological Association

      Associations with colors are a rich source of meaning, and there has been considerable interest in understanding the capacity of color to shape our functioning and behavior as a result of color associations. However, abstract conceptual color associations have not been comprehensively investigated, and many of the effects of color on psychological functioning reported in the literature are therefore reliant on ad hoc rationalizations of conceptual associations with color (e.g., blue = openness) to explain effects. In the present work we conduct a systematic, cross-cultural, mapping of conceptual color associations using the full set of hues from the World Color Survey (WCS). In Experiments 1a and 1b we explored the conceptual associations that English monolingual, Chinese bilingual, and Chinese monolingual speaking adults have with each of the 11 Basic English Color Terms (black, white, red, yellow, green, blue. brown. purple. pink, orange, gray). In Experiment 2 we determined which specific physical WCS colors are associated with which concepts in these three language groups. The findings reveal conceptual color associations that appear to be universal across all cultures (e.g., white - purity; blue - water/sky related; green - health; purple - regal; pink - "female" traits) as well as culture specific (e.g., red and orange - enthusiastic in Chinese; red - attraction in English). Importantly, the findings provide a crucial constraint on, and resource for, future work that seeks to understand the effect of color on cognition and behavior, enabling stronger a priori predictions about universal as well as culturally relative effects of conceptual color associations on cognition and behavior to be systematically tested.

      Alexandra Frampton, Alexandra M Grandison (2022)"In the broom closet": exploring the role of online communities in shaping the identities of contemporary witchcraft practitioners, In: Current psychology (New Brunswick, N.J.) Springer Nature

      There are multiple lenses through which contemporary witchcraft practitioners are perceived in literature: self-identification; mainstream stereotyping; and counterculture. Contemporary witchcraft is a sociocultural phenomenon that has not received much attention outside of the disciplines of anthropology and sociology. Therefore, the individual views and experiences of self-identified practitioners have arguably been diluted within social research due to an emphasis on historical or group-based observations. With the aim of incorporating a psychological perspective into existing contemporary literature, the current study used semi-structured interviews to explore how practitioners personally engage with online communities to navigate the individual, social, and collective interpretations of their 'witchcraft-related identity'. Using data from 16 participant interviews, it emerged that digitising witchcraft practices served two key roles in engaging with the practitioners' identities by providing access to both group membership and interactive knowledge exchange. Positive and negative aspects of these experiences were discussed. Moreover, it was found that the relationship between online and face-to-face constructions of being 'a witch' was observably fluid, wherein digital practices could help practitioners compartmentalise their witchcraft-related identity to online spaces or, alternatively, enhance its in-person identity saliency. This investigation offers timely and novel insights into contemporary witchcraft by taking a psychological perspective that contributes to broader debates about the notion of identity and how this manifests in online communities.

      Additional publications