Development & Cognition
The School has a particular strength in cognitive development, especially in relation to higher cognitive functions such as reasoning, decision-making, executive functions, numerical cognition, and reading. Some of our research in these areas focuses on atypical populations, such as children with developmental disorders or children at risk of psychopathology. Research on the development of temporal cognition has yielded two ESRC-funded projects, which have uncovered a link between children’s ability to delay gratification and their future time perception. This work has a strong interdisciplinary focus, including a philosophy/psychology AHRC project ‘Time: Between Metaphysics and Psychology’, which has been conducting ground-breaking empirical studies on people’s folk theory of time. Two further interdisciplinary projects with philosophers were funded by Leverhulme, one that has demonstrated new relations in temporal and causal cognition in children, and another that is currently examining the links between the emotion of relief and temporal cognition in both adults and children.
I am interested in high-level cognition. I study both how we make inductive generalisations from specific examples, and how we reason deductively. I also have strong interests in judgement and decision making, including how we think about counterfactual alternatives to reality, and how consideration of those alternatives is related to the experience of regret. More recently I have studied the relationship between regret and decision making in children.
My general research interests are in the development of speech, language, and literacy. My recent work has focused on the importance of auditory sensitivity for speech processing, vocabulary learning and literacy development. My research involves investigation of typically and atypically developing populations of children, and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I take advantage of wide range of methods in my research, with a focus on complementary psychoacoustic and cognitive neuroscience techniques (EEG).
Agnieszka graduated from the University of York in 2011 with a degree in Psychology before earning her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2016. She worked as a research fellow at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Edinburgh, before returning to the School of Psychology, Queen's, in late 2018. She was appointed as a Lecturer in Applied Developmental Psychology in September 2019. Agnieszka studies higher-level cognition and its development across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in understanding what limits memory for the immediate past, and how those limits change as people grow older. The ultimate goal of Agnieszka’s work is to understand why remembering novel information is notoriously faulty, and to discover factors that can help alleviate immediate memory limits.
I am a cognitive developmental psychologist. Much of my research has focused on the development of different aspects of temporal cognition in young children. I am currently working on aspects of children's future thinking on an ESRC-funded project with Cristina Atance, and on another ESRC project with Eugene Caruso which is examining temporal asymmetries in children's thinking.
My research focuses on parenting and childhood adversity. I am particularly interested in how adversity affects parenting and familial processes, and the impact on parent, child and family outcomes. I also have significant experience in the design and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable parents and children. Recent/current projects include investigating the impact of incarceration on parental psychosocial wellbeing and parenting attitudes/behaviours, and an evaluation of a parenting programme for fathers.
My work is interdisciplinary and focuses on personality, psychopathology and achievement across contexts. I am particularly interested in the dark side of human personality including Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy and Sadism. Narcissism is of particular interest to my work with research conducted in our lab to suggest that certain aspects of narcissism may act as a bridge between the prosocial and toxic side of human personality.
My research falls within the area developmental psychopathlogy with particualar expertise in developmental neuropsychology. I have published widely in the area of psychosis, with a particular focus on understanding the neurodevelopmental origins. I am currently working on several projects exploring the impact of childhood adversity on adult outcomes.
As a cognitive psychologist I am engaged in applied educational research. Much of my work has a bilingual focus, involving children and university students learning in a second language or immersion setting. I collaborate with researchers in Canada, Hong Kong, and Chile on language learning and maths attainment in immersion and dual-language classrooms. Research on formulaic language in monolinguals and bilinguals involves collaborators from Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and Malta. I am also interested in the experience of students transitioning to higher-level education from Irish-immersion schools. An ongoing project with the Centre for Mathematical Cognition at Loughborough University aims to develop a Dyscalculia Screening tool.
Chang is interested in cognitive developmental psychology, with a primary focus of research being the furthering our understanding of children’s numerical knowledge. She is particularly interested in the developmental course of number integration, that is, the process of making connections between number concepts and symbols, which is central to children’s construction of higher-level mathematical understanding. She is further interested in the developmental trajectories of children’s acquisition of math and language skills in their first language versus second language and cross-cultural comparisons of children’s home numeracy experiences, as well as developing accessible mathematical interventions aimed at improving cognitive and educational outcomes for children.
Psychologists at QUB are leading attempts to understand relationships between time, decision making, and emotions such as regret and relief experienced when we compare outcomes of actual choices to outcomes of choices that we might have made.
This research expertise led to a collaboration between the School of Psychology and the Recovery and Reorganisation group at Grant Thornton LLP which specialised in negotiating Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) between people with problem debts and their creditors.
Initially funded by Grant Thornton and the Business Alliance Office at QUB, the collaboration moved from focussing on emotions such as shame and regret experienced by people in IVAs, to investigating the difficulties associated with advising people with problem debts about their decision options, and how best to ensure that people decide to adhere to the advice they receive. Our work helped to improve rates of debt advice adherence amongst potential clients. The research revealed barriers to advice adherence when these initial meetings took place by telephone. These insights informed training we provided to Aperture’s debt advisors about strategies for handling difficult advice conversations.
A series of seminars to present the research resulted in an increased number of referrals to Aperture services from voluntary and government sector debt advice organisations.
Another outcome from this work with the company was to raise awareness of the mental health problems experienced by its clients. Our client surveys repeatedly showed that, compared to general population data, client scores on a number of measures suggested that they suffered from poor mental health. As a consequence, all staff with a client-facing role received training in suicide awareness and all Aperture IVA clients had 24 hour telephone access to a counsellor.
An interdisciplinary three-year project funded by the AHRC, led by Christoph Hoerl (Philosophy, Warwick) and Teresa McCormack (Psychology, Queen's University Belfast) to provide an empirically informed critical examination of the relationship between our everyday understanding of time, and time as typically understood within modern science.
The project has worked with three different groups of artists to produce a set of performances entitled About Time. The groups are Bbeyond (performance art), Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company and Big Telly Theatre Company. The project team has also worked with the cartoonist Brian John Spencer to produce a leaflet to help audiences visually explore different ways of conceptualizing time. The leaflet was launched at W5, an interactive science discovery centre in Belfast.
More information can be found here.
- As well as working on a dyscalculia screening tool, the theme collaborates with researchers in Canada on a British Academy project that provides guidance for teachers in immersion education and other dual-language settings.
- The theme is involved in an evaluation of audio description for blind and partially sighted users in live tours, currently being applied to Titanic Belfast.
- A collaboration with animators on the scientific development of an education focused pre-schooler TV show on the development of listening skills is supported by Future Screens NI.
- The theme also collaborates with Advice NI testing the efficacy of a future thinking intervention in promoting adherence to debt advice.
- The theme's work on the Northern Ireland Childhood Adversity study (NICAS) researching the psychological outcomes of growing up in adversity with the aim of getting the A.C.E. agenda on the programme for Government.
The space is child friendly, and there is a separate waiting area for parents with children’s toilets and baby changing facilities. The facilities within the Lab include a large room with one-way mirror to allow viewing from an observation room, discreet built-in video cameras and play back system and a sound recording system.
Our Developmental EEG Laboratory within the David Keir Building houses a sound isolated booth with 64 channel EEG and customisable seating to accommodate testing from infancy to young adulthood. Facilities for high fidelity audio recording, playback and audiometric screening are available within the laboratory.
This lab houses both enclosed cubicles and less formally separated data collection stations all with fully updated computing facilities
InteRRaCt lab was established in July 2017 and it is based in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast. Our work is interdisciplinary exploring personality and individual differences, with a particular focus on dark personalities, and their impact on individuals’ resilience and cognitive performance across societal contexts.
Listen to researcher Delfina Bilello deliver a TEDx presentation on behalf of the InteRRaCt lab.
- Cristina Atance, University of Ottowa
- Eugene Caruso, University of Chicago
- Marc Buehner, University of Cardiff
- David Lagnado, University College London
- Christoph Hoerl, University of Warwick
- Professor Yulia Kovas, Goldsmiths
- Professor Sergey Malykh, Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education
- Professor Peter Clough, University of Huddersfield
- Dr. Tim J. Smith, Birkbeck College
- Aimee Bright, Queen Mary University of London
- David Over, University of Durham
- Jean-Francois Bonnefon, CNRS Toulouse
- Evan Heit, University of California, Merced
- John Coley, Northeastern University