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Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Dr Deborah Riby, PhD Psychology

Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Psychology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43247
Room number: L60

(email at deborah.riby@durham.ac.uk)

Career

I joined the Department of Psychology at Durham University as a Senior Lecturer in July 2013 and was promoted to Reader in October 2016. From 2013-2016 I was course director for the MSc Developmental Psychopathology and MA Research Methods (Developmental Psychology) courses, as well as research group leader for Developmental Science.

In 2016 I took over as Director of Research for the Department of Psychology. 

Prior to my time in Durham, I was a Lecturer in the School of Psychology, Newcastle University (2008-2013). I completed my PhD in 2007 at Stirling University, followed by a one-year postdoctoral research position at the same institution.

Research Interests

In 2014 I was awarded the Margaret Donaldson Prize by the British Psychological Society (Developmental Psychology Section) for recognition of my cross-syndrome research on social perception / social cognition in developmental disorders and my "contribution to theory / innovative methodology".

I am a developmental psychologist and my research focuses on syndrome-specific signatures of atypical development in neurodevelopmental disorders. My primary research area is social perception and social cognition in Williams syndrome (WS) and Autism (ASD). Within this area I have used a variety of eye tracking and innovative experimental tasks to explore areas of relative proficiency or deficit (exploring syndrome-specific signatures or cross-syndrome overlaps and having theoretical implications). I have used face perception and the interpretion of social cues from faces as a method of exploring communication strategies and social behaviours / tendancies associated with these disorders. I have more recently become interested in issues of social vulnerability associated with Williams syndrome - such as increased approach to unfamiliar people and awareness of stranger danger. Therefore the work that I conduct has both theoretical and applied relevance.

Linking to the above area of interest I have recently been focusing on the links between social behaviours and other facets of these neurodevelopmental disorders, such as anxiety, sensory processing and executive functions. For example, we are have recently secured funding for a feasibility of a new CBT-based anxiety intervention targeting the needs of individuals with WS. A large focus of my recent research has also been on supporting families of individuals with WS in relation to anxiety - this has informed a REF case study that I am leading and has allowed me to secure a number of impact grants.

Linking the two aforementioned areas of research activity I am particularly interested in understanding the needs of the 'whole' individual and how we need to encompass areas of cognition, behaviour and psychopathology in providing support and interventions for individuals with these disorders of development. Understanding the 'whole' also extends to understanding the family system and in recently funded research through the Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation we are also working with siblings and parents (started in 2017 for two years).

Research Groups

Department of Psychology

Research Interests

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders impacting upon cognition, behaviour & psychopathology
  • Williams syndrome (esp social attention & social functioning, anxiety, sensory processing)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (especially social functioning, anxiety, sensory processing)
  • Social Perception & social cognition in typical development

Teaching Areas

  • MA Research Methods (Developmental Psychology)
  • MSc Developmental Psychopathology

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Riby, D M, Bruce, V & Jawaid, A (2011). Everyone’s friend? The case of Williams syndrome. In Pathological Altruism. Oakley, B., Knafo, A., Madhavan, G. & Wilson, D. S. Ocford University Press.
  • Riby, D M (2011). Face Processing and Social Interactions. In Developmental Disabilities across the Lifespan. Farran, E. & Karmiloff-Smith, A. Oxford University Press.
  • Riby, D M & Porter, M (2010). Williams syndrome. In ). Developmental Disorders & Interventions: Advances in Child Development and Behavior. Holmes, J. Academic Press.
  • Brock, J, Einav, S & Riby, D M (2008). The other end of the spectrum? Social cognition in Williams syndrome. In Social cognition: Development, Neuroscience and Autism. Reid, V. & Striano, T Blackwell.

Edited book

  • van Herwegen, J & Riby, D M (2014). Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Research Challenges and Solutions. Psychology Press.

Journal Article

  • Crawford, H., Moss, J., Oliver, C. & Riby, D.M. (Forthcoming). Differential effects of anxiety and autism on social scene scanning in males with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Greer, J.M.H., Hamilton, C., McMullon, M. E. G., Riby, D. M. & Riby, L. M. (2017). An Event Related Potential Study of Inhibitory and Attentional Control in Williams Syndrome Adults. Plos One 12(2): e0170180.
  • Hanley, Mary, Khairat, Mariam Taylor, Korey Wilson, Rachel Cole-Fletcher, Rachel & Riby, Deborah M. (2017). Classroom displays - Attraction or Distraction? Evidence of impact on attention and learning from children with and without autism. Developmental Psychology 57(3): 1265-1275.
  • Glod, M., Riby, D. M., Honey, E. & Rodgers, J. (2017). Sensory Atypicalities in Dyads of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Their Parents. Autism Research 10(3): 531-538.
  • Riby, D. M., Ridley, E., Lough, E. & Hanley, M. (2017). Social vulnerability in Williams syndrome: A tendency to approach strangers. International Review of Research on Developmental Disabilities 52.
  • Fletcher, F. E., Foster-Owens, M., Conduit, R., Rinehart, N. J., Riby, D. M. & Cornish, K. M. (2017). The development trajectory of parent-report and objective sleep profiles in autism spectrum disorder: Associations with anxiety and bedtime routines. Autism 21(4): 493-503.
  • Watts, S. J., Rodgers, J. & Riby, D. M. (2016). A systematic review of the evidence for hyporesponsivity in ASD. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 3(4): 285-301.
  • Lough, E., Rodgers, J., Janes, E., Little, K. & Riby, D. M. (2016). Parent insights into atypicalities of social approach behaviour in Williams syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 60(11): 1097-1108.
  • Lough, E., Flynn, E. & Riby, D. M. (2016). Personal space regulation in Williams syndrome: The effect of familiarity. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 46(10): 3207-3215.
  • Kirk, H., Gray, K., Riby D. M. & Cornish, K. M. (2015). Cognitive training as a resolution for early executive function difficulties in children with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities 38: 145-160.
  • Lough, E., Flynn, E. & Riby, D. M. (2015). Mapping real-world to online vulnerability in young people with developmental disorders: Illustrations from autism and Williams syndrome. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2(1): 1-7.
  • Glod, M., Riby, D. M., Honey, E. & Rodgers, J. (2015). Psychological Correlates of Sensory Processing Patterns in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2(2): 199-221.
  • Hanley, M., Riby, D.M., Carty, C., Melaugh McAteer, A., Kennedy, A. & McPhillips, M. (2015). The use of eye-tracking to explore social difficulties in cognitively able students with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot investigation. Autism 19(7): 868-873.
  • Lough, E., Hanley, M., Rodgers, J., South, M., Kirk, H., Kennedy, D. & Riby, D. M. (2015). Violations of Personal Space in Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Williams Syndrome: Insights from the Social Responsiveness Scale. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Hanley, M., Riby, D. M., McCormack, T., Carty, C., Coyle, L., Crozier, N., Robinson, J. & McPhillips, M. (2014). Attention during social interaction in children with autism: Comparison to specific language impairment, typical development, and links to social cognition. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 8(7): 908-924.
  • Greer, J., Hamilton, C., Riby, D. M. & Riby, L. M. (2014). Deeper processing is beneficial during episodic memory encoding for adults with Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities 35(7): 1720-1726.
  • Janes, E., Riby, D. M. & Rodgers, J. (2014). Exploring the prevalence and phenomenology of repetitive behaviours and abnormal sensory processing in children with Williams Syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 58(8): 746-757.
  • Riby, D.M., Kirk, H., Hanley, M. & Riby, L.M. (2014). Stranger Danger Awareness in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 58(6): 572-582.
  • Gillespie-Smith, K., Doherty-Sneddon, G., Hancock, P. J. B. & Riby, D. M. (2014). That looks familiar: attention allocation to familiar and unfamiliar faces in children with autism spectrum disorder. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 19(6): 554-569.
  • Riby, D. M., Hanley, M., Kirk, H., Clark, F., Little, K., Fleck, R., Janes, E., Kelso, L., O’Kane, F., Cole-Fletcher, R., Allday, M. H., Hocking, D., Cornish, K. & Rodgers, J. (2014). The Interplay Between Anxiety and Social Functioning in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44(5): 1220-1229.
  • Slessor, G., Riby, D. M. & Finnerty, A. N. (2013). Age-related Differences in Processing Face Configuration: The Importance of the Eye Region. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 68(2): 228-231.
  • Greer, J., Riby, D. M., Hamiliton, C. & Riby, L. M. (2013). Attentional Lapse and Inhibition Control in Adults with Williams Syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities 34(11): 4170-4177.
  • Riby, D. M., Janes, E. & Rodgers, J. (2013). Brief report: Exploring the relationship between repetitive behaviours and sensory processing in Williams syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43(2): 478-482.
  • Gillespie-Smith, K., Riby, D.M., Hancock, P.J.B. & Doherty-Sneddon, G. (2013). Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attend typically to faces and objects presented within their picture communication systems. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 58(5): 459-470.
  • Doherty-Sneddon, G, Whittle, L & Riby, D M (2013). Gaze Aversion during Social Interactions in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities 34(1): 616-626.
  • Little, K., Riby, D. M., Janes, E., Fleck, R., Clark, F. & Rodgers, J. (2013). Heterogeneity of social approach behaviour in Williams syndrome: The role of response inhibition. Research in Developmental Disabilities 34(3): 959-967.
  • Kirk, H. E., Hocking, D. R., Riby, D. M. & Cornish, K. M. (2013). Linking social behaviour and anxiety to attention to emotional faces in Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities 34(12): 4608-4616.
  • Hanley, M., Riby, D. M., Caswell, S., Rooney, S. & Back, E. (2013). Looking and Thinking: How individuals with Williams syndrome make judgements about mental states. Research in Developmental Disabilities 34(12): 4466-4476.
  • Kirk, H, Gilmour, A, Riby, D M & Dudley, R (2013). Paranoid Ideation and Assessments of Trust. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology 4(4): 360-367.
  • Riby, D M, Hancock, P J B, Jones, N & Hanley, M (2013). Spontaneous and cued gaze-following in autism and Williams syndrome. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 5(1): 13.
  • Hanley, M., McPhillips, M., Mulhern, G. & Riby, D. M. (2013). Spontaneous attention to faces in Asperger Syndrome using ecologically valid static stimuli. Autism 17(6): 754-761.
  • Jawaid, A, Riby, D M, Owens, J, White, S W, Tarar, T & Schulz, P. E (2012). ‘Too withdrawn’ or ‘too friendly’ considering social vulnerability in two neuro-developmental disorders. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 56(4): 335-350.
  • Rodgers, J, Riby, D M, Janes, E, Connolly, B & McConachie, H (2012). Anxiety and Repetitive Behaviours in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Williams syndrome: A Cross-syndrome Comparison. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 42(2): 175-180.
  • Riby, D M, Doherty-Sneddon, G & Whittle, L (2012). Face-to-Face Interference in Typical and Atypical Development. Developmental Science 15(2): 281-291.
  • Riby, D M, Brown, P H, Jones, N & Hanley, M (2012). Faces cause less distraction in Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 42(4): 634-639.
  • Doherty-Sneddon, G, Riby, D M & Whittle, L (2012). Gaze aversion as a cognitive load management strategy in autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 53(4): 420-430.
  • Quinn, S, O’Hare, O & Riby, D M (2012). How comparable are children and adults in perceiving an optimal tempo for music? The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 131(5): 3595-3598.
  • Riby, D M, Whittle, L & Doherty-Sneddon, G (2012). Physiological Reactivity to Faces via Live and Video Mediated Communication in Typical and Atypical Development. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 34(4): 385-395.
  • Rhodes, S, Riby, D M, Matthews, K & Coghill, D R (2011). ADHD and Williams syndrome: shared behavioural and neuropsychological profiles. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 33(1): 147-156.
  • Riby, D M, Jones, N, Brown, P H, Robinson, L, Langton, S R H, Bruce, V. & Riby, L. M (2011). Attention to faces in Williams syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41(9): 1228-1239.
  • Riby, D M, Doherty-Sneddon, G & Bruce, V (2011). Exploring face perception in disorders of development: Evidence from Williams syndrome and autism. Journal of Neuropsychology 2(1): 47-64.
  • Rhodes, S, Riby, D M, Fraser, E M & Campbell, L E (2011). The extent of working memory deficits associated with Williams syndrome: Exploration of verbal and spatial domains and executively controlled processes. Brain and Cognition 77(2): 208-214.
  • Jawaid, A, Riby, D M, Egridere, S, Schmolck, H, Kass, J S & Schulz, P. E (2010). Approachability in Williams Syndrome. Neuropsychologia 48(5): 1521-1523.
  • Riby, D M & Back, E (2010). Can individuals with Williams syndrome interpret mental states from moving faces? Neuropsychologia 48(7): 1914-1922.
  • Rhodes, S, Riby, D M, Park, J, Fraser, E & Campbell, L (2010). Neuropsychological functioning and executive control in WS. Neuropsychologia 48(5): 1216-1226.
  • Riby, D M (2010). Show me your eyes: Evidence from Williams syndrome. Visual Cognition 18(6): 801-815.
  • Riby, D M, Riby, L M & Reay, J (2009). Differential sensitivity to rotations of facial features in the Thatcher illusion. Psychological Reports 105(3): 721-726.
  • Riby, D M & Hancock, P J B (2009). Do faces capture the attention of individuals with Williams syndrome or Autism? Evidence from tracking eye movements. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 39(3): 421-431.
  • Riby, D M & Hancock, P J B (2009). Looking at Movies and Cartoons: Eye-tracking evidence from Williams syndrome and Autism. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 53(2): 169-181.
  • Doherty-Sneddon, G, Riby, D M, Calderwood, L & Ainsworth, L (2009). Stuck on you: face –to- face arousal and gaze aversion in Williams syndrome. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 14(6): 510-523.
  • Riby, D M, Doherty-Sneddon, G & Bruce, V (2009). The eyes or the mouth? Feature salience and unfamiliar face processing in Williams syndrome and autism. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 62(1): 189-203.
  • Riby, D M & Doherty, M J (2009). Tracking eye movements proves informative for the study of gaze direction detection in autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 3(3): 723-733.
  • Riby, D M, Doherty-Sneddon, G & Bruce, V (2008). Atypical unfamiliar face processing in Williams syndrome: What can it tell us about typical familiarity effects? Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 13(1): 47-58.
  • Riby, L M, McLaughlin, J & Riby, D M (2008). Lifestyle, glucose regulation and cognitive enhancing properties of glucose load in middle-aged adults. British Journal of Nutrition 100(05): 1128-1134.
  • Riby, D M & Hancock, P J B (2008). Viewing it differently: Social scene perception in Williams syndrome and Autism. Neuropsychologia 46(11): 2855-2860.
  • Brock, J, Jarrold, C, Farran, E K, Laws, G & Riby, D M (2007). Do children with Williams syndrome really have good vocabulary knowledge? Methods for comparing cognitive and linguistic abilities in developmental disorders. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 21(9): 673-688.
  • Langton, S R H, O'Donnell, C, Riby, D M & Ballantyne, C (2006). Gaze cues influence the allocation of attention in natural scene viewing. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 59(12): 2056-2064.
  • Bayliss, D M, Jarrold, C, Baddeley, A D, Gunn, D M & Leigh, E (2005). Mapping the developmental constraints on working memory span performance. Developmental Psychology 41(4): 579-597.
  • Laws, G & Gunn, D M (2004). ). Phonological memory as a predictor of language development in Down Syndrome: A five-year follow up study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45(2): 326-337.
  • Gunn, D M & Jarrold, C (2004). Raven's matrices performance in Down Syndrome: Evidence of unusual errors. Research in Developmental Disabilities 25(5): 443-457.
  • Jarrold, C, Cowan, N, Hewes, A K & Riby, D M (2004). Speech timing and verbal short-term memory in Down syndrome and Williams syndrome: Evidence for comparable yet contrasting deficits. Journal of Memory and Language 51(3): 365-381.
  • Bayliss, D, Jarrold, C, Gunn, D M & Baddeley, A D (2003). The complexities of complex span: Explaining individual differences in working memory in children and adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 132(1): 71-92.
  • Bayliss, D M, Jarrold, C, Baddeley, A D & Gunn, D M (2003). The relationship between short-term memory and working memory: Complex span made simple? Memory 13(3-4): 414-421.
  • Laws, G & Gunn, D M (2002). Relationships between reading, phonological skills and language development in individuals with Down syndrome: A five year follow-up study. Reading and Writing 15(5/6): 527-548.

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Supervises