Social learning and cultural transmission in children
Children are cultural magnets, picking up the social norms and traditions of those around them. This ESRC funded project examines the social learning strategies and processes that children use to acquire these traditions, examining how these processes are mediated by cognitive and social factors.
The Psychology of Colic
Infant crying and wakefulness are two of the major problems that parents of young babies face. In this project, jointly funded by Developmental Solutions and the ESRC, we are investigating the effectiveness of a number of interventions aimed at reducing colic and wakefulness.
Developmental psychopathology of eating disorders
The aim of this project is to examine the developmental history of characteristics associated with the development of eating disorders. These include weight and weight gain, body image, food choice, dieting and restrained eating, activity levels, perfectionism and anxiety and depression. Two cohorts are currently being studied, one recruited at birth and the other in the early school years.
Perceiving and identifying emotional expressions
This work involves assessing the abilities to discriminate and identify emotions from static and moving displays of facial and bodily expressed emotions in which various stimulus properties (e.g. form, motion) have been manipulated. Participants include typically developing adults and children, and individuals with autism, tested using behavioural measures (e.g. recognition accuracy, reaction time, rating scales) and eye-tracking equipment.
Technology Enhanced Learning project, SynergyNet
The project, a collaboration between computer science, education and psychology is part of the UK's Teaching and Learning Research Programme funded by the EPSRC and ESRC. The vision of the SynergyNet project is to create a radically new technology-rich learning environment which integrates with traditional classroom layouts and collective activities and to develop a new pedagogy which eases transition and movement between teacher-led and student-led interaction.
Prospective memory in autism spectrum disorder
Prospective memory involves remembering to carry out a previously formed plan at the appropriate time (e.g., remembering to take a pan off the stove after 10 minutes). This ESRC-funded project explores prospective memory abilities among children with autism, as well as among typically developing childen, focussing on potential mediating variables such as theory of mind and executive functioning.
Predictors of children's understanding of mind and emotion
In a number of ongoing longitudinal studies (funded by the ESRC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), we are investigating how aspects of early infant-mother interaction (specifically maternal mind-mindedness and attachment security) predict children's performance in the preschool and early school years on tasks assessing theory of mind and emotion understanding.
Changes in attachment security over time
Relations among behavioural and representational measures of attachment security across the first five years of life are being explored in a large, socially diverse sample of children. This ESRC-funded project also addresses how mothers' attachment status, maternal depression and anxiety, and major life events relate to stability and change in children's attachment security.
Mental illness in mothers
An ESRC-funded study has compared the quality of infant-mother interaction in mothers suffering from a range of severe mental illnesses (major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) with that in psychologically healthy mothers. In a new investigation in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, the research team is attempting to follow-up mothers with severe mental illness to obtain more long-term longitudinal data on whether child outcome is influenced by mental ill health in the mother.
Effects of stress of mother and nurse on feeding interactions with premature infants in the neonatal unit
Although a number of studies have examined the effects of stress on parents and the behaviour of infants born prematurely, results are inconclusive with some studies finding differences depending on parental stress and types of care of the infants and others not finding significant differences depending on stress level experienced. The project investigates the effect of stress on mothers and nurses interacting with the same premature infants during tube and bottle-feeding.
Maternal and infant facial expression during infant inoculation.
Research indicates that children are socialized into expressing emotions in general and pain in particular. Painful procedures such as the first inoculation or circumcision have a lasting effect on how infants cope with pain later on. This project examines the hypothesis that it is not only the child's experience of painful procedures but also the adult's reactions in that situation, which affect how much distress the child expresses.
How facial movements develop in the womb
This study aims to investigate foetal facial movements in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and to examine whether certain types of facial movement are associated with foetal and maternal stress. The project aims to establish a comprehensive database of foetal facial movements taken from a sample of women at four gestational time as well as to assess maternal psychological state during pregnancy has an effect on foetal facial movements.