Personal profile

Research interests

My research goals seek to understand the interface between memory and language skills within children’s cognitive development, particularly for children with atypical development in language, memory and communication, and from a neurobiological perspective.   

One ongoing line of research (with David Skuse) grasps the challenge of identifying a heritable phenotype within semantic cognition, within a single multi-generational family – the JR family.   By using molecular genetics methods (with Katerina Kucera and Simon Fisher), we seek to identify genomic variants that potentially co-segregate with this novel and interesting phenotype.   Further to this, I am interested in the regulation of semantic cognition in children.

A second line of research probes lexico-semantic influences on immediate memory recall.  For example, I have probed list composition effects on children’s short-term memory (with Clive Frankish), dual-task effects on immediate story memory (with Anna Kapikian) and the learning and retention of ‘proto-words’ extracted through children’s exposure to statistical regularities in speech (with Sven Mattys).  An exciting new prospect is to understand how people retain meaning from stories, particularly when misinformed, by looking for neural signatures of recall in functional MRI (with Steve Lewandowsky, Ulli Ecker, Jade Thai and Jon Brooks).

A third line of research probes cognitive and perceptual elements of self and identity associated with language and communication disorders.  For example, I am interested face-voice associations (with Mallika Sen) and whether other-identity extracted from everyday percepts (faces and voices) conveys a symbolic benefit to children’s language? Or whether children’s construct of self (self-recognition) varies systematically with self-referential language in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders?



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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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