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Cognition, Development and Education

Six staff undertake research within the cluster.

The focus of the group is on cognitive, developmental, and educational research. Some of our work concerns high-level cognitive processes such as memory and thinking in adults. The aim of our developmental research is to increase understanding of how cognition in children changes as they get older. We also conduct research with children who have developmental disorders, such as autism, dyslexia, and Williams Syndrome, particularly focusing on cognitive and perceptual processes in children from these groups. The focus of our educational research is on classroom interventions in primary schools and in early years settings, addressing, for example, thinking skills, reading, and movement. Most of the research is carried out in schools and early years settings, and is either classroom-based or involves working with children individually. Some of our work involves children visiting our specialized laboratory facilities, and we usually recruit parents and children for studies during the summer period. Our facilities include a child-friendly developmental laboratory, specialized equipment for eye tracking research and measuring balance/motor skills, and an EEG laboratory.

Our research is funded by the ESRC, Atlantic Philanthropies, An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelsolaiochta, the Primary Movement Trust, and the British Academy.

Research interests of members

Professor Teresa McCormack

  • Cognitive development in young children
  • Memory development
  • Children’s reasoning about time
  • Development of children’s causal reasoning

Dr Martin McPhillips

  • Atypical motor development
  • Predictors of motor delay in young children
  • Developmental coordination disorder (DCD)
  • Comorbidities in atypical development

Dr Judith Wylie

  • Bilingualism and immersion education
  • Working memory
  • Executive functioning
  • Development of literacy and numerical skills

Dr Aidan Feeney

  • How adults and children generalize beyond their existing knowledge through inductive reasoning
  • Counterfactual thinking, regret, and decision-making
  • Relations between thinking and linguistic pragmatics
  • Dual process theories of thinking

Dr Mary Hanley

  • Social development
  • Social attention
  • Social functioning
  • Atypical social development
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Williams Syndrome
  • Eye tracking methods

Dr Tim Fosker

  • Speech and language development
  • The development of auditory perception and attention
  • The development of receptive language and literacy
  • Language and literacy difficulties
  • EEG trajectories of cognitive development

PhD Students in the Cognition, Development and Education Reseach Cluster