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Tsvyata Donova, Postgraduate Research Student

PhD Student Tsvyata DonovaContact Details

Email: Tdonova02@qub.ac.uk

PhD Details

First Supervisor: Prof Teresa McCormack

Second Supervisor: Dr Aidan Feeney

PhD Title: Episodic future thinking in pre-school children

Summary of Project: The project aims to discover the age at which pre-school aged children are able to foresee the solution of a novel problem by visualising it in their minds. In order to achieve this goal three novel tasks similar to the Blow Football task (Russell, Alexis and Clayton, 2010) was designed and more than 100 children tested to date. Results so far indicate that 3-4 year olds might not be able to show episodic foresight, especially if they have to predict a tool for future use in the presence of a distractor. Nevertheless, there is still a possibility that younger children could be using future-self projection in selecting a tool for future use combined with other strategies (e.g. semantic reasoning). The goal of the next set of studies is to differentiate episodic foresight by refining the tasks further so that they are solvable mostly on the basis of future-self projection, or imagining what it would be needed if the game layout changed its visuo-spatial layout.  

Research Cluster: Developmental, Cognitive, Educational

Research Interests

Primary interest is to refine the design of tasks that would be able to sensitively measure episodic future thinking in children establish the age at which this ability occurs and then develop strategies how this ability can be utilised to maximise children’s episodic planning skills and academic performance.

Secondary interest in in educational intervention aimed at increasing young people’s literacy and numeracy skills, effectiveness of randomised control trials in improving children’s educational attainments.

Conferences

Oral Presentations:

Measurement of episodic future thinking in 3- to 5-year olds (Study 1, Part 1 and 2)- The 2nd Annual Postgraduate Student Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast (September 2011)

Measurement of episodic future thinking in four- and five-year olds (Study 1, Part 1 and 2) – 34th Annual Congress of Psychology Students of Ireland, Queen’s University, Belfast (March, 2012)

Emergence of episodic future thinking in pre-school children – (Study 3,4, 5 and 6-The Northern Irish Branch of the British Psychological Society, (April, 2013)

Poster Presentations:

Four-year olds episodic future thinking skills – (Study 2- Part 1 and 2, Study 3- Part 1 and 2) - The 3rd Annual Postgraduate Student Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast (September 2012)

Episodic Future Thinking in 4-Year-Olds, Poster Symposium: The who, what, where and when of episodic foresight development- Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Symposium, Washington Convention Centre, Seattle, USA, (18-20 April, 2013)

Emergence of episodic future though in pre-school aged children (Study 2-Part 1 and Part 2, Study 3- Part 1 and Part 2, Study 4, Study 5 (Part 1 and Part 2)  - Joint Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Developmental and Cognitive Sections, University of Reading, (September 2013)

Publications

Primary Publications

Donova, T. & McCormack, T. (2011). Measurement of episodic future thinking in 3- to 5-year olds. Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Postgraduate Student Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast

Donova, T. & McCormack, T. (2012). Measurement of episodic future thinking in 3- to 5-year olds. Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Postgraduate Student Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast

Donova, T. & McCormack, T. (2012). Measurement of episodic future thinking in four- and five-year olds. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Postgraduate Student Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast

Donova, T. & McCormack, T. (2012). Measurement of episodic future thinking in four- and five-year olds. The Irish Psychologist. April, 38(6), p. 10

Secondary Publications

Connolly, P., O’Hare, L. & Mitchell, D. (2012) A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial Evaluation of Booktime Northern Ireland: A Book Gifting Intervention for Children in Their First Year of Primary School. Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University Belfast. – cited within report as an additional contributor

O’Hare, L., Kerr, K., Biggart, A. and Connolly, P. (2012) Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Childhood Development Initiative’s Mate-Tricks Pro-Social Behaviour After-School Programme. Dublin: Childhood Development Initiative (CDI). – cited within report as an additional contributor