Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Psychology

Staff

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 am the Director of Research for the Department of Psychology and also the Director of the Centre for Developmental Disorders.

I joined the Department of Psychology at Durham University July 2013 having previously been a lecturer in the School of Psychology at Newcastle University (2008-2013). I completed my PhD at Stirling University, followed by a one-year postdoctoral research position at the same institution.

Research Interests

I am a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow. 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. A large focus of my recent research has also been on supporting families of individuals with WS, especially in relation to anxiety.

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 developing theory, but also in providing support and interventions for individuals with these disorders of development. Understanding the 'whole' also extends to understanding the family system.

Grants for Basic Research (including charity funding and RCUK)

£1,353,553 ‘Managing Repetitive Behaviours: Clinical and cost effectiveness trial of a parent group intervention to manage restricted and repetitive behaviours in young children with ASD’ multi-site grant from the NIHR (HTA programme grant). 2018-2021.

£90,860 ‘The role of family system factors in psychological outcomes for children with rare genetic syndromes associated with intellectual disabilities’. Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation. Katie Cebula (Edinburgh), D Riby (Durham), Richard Hastings (Warwick). 2017- 2019

£20,190 Managing anxiety in Williams Syndrome: The feasibility and acceptability of Billy’s Feelings Toolbox©: A parent intervention package for young people with Williams Syndrome and anxiety. Williams syndrome Foundation grant. Jacqui Rodgers (Newcastle), D Riby (Durham), Mary Hanley (Durham). February 2017 - 2018.

£16,250 ‘Cross cultural evidence (UK and Japan) for caring for people with developmental disorders’ Prizer Foundation (with collaborator Dr M Hiro, Jichi Medical School, Tokyo, Japan). M Hiro, D Riby, M Hanley. 2015-2016

£22,156 ‘An investigation into music perception in children with Williams syndrome’. Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation. P Heaton, D Riby, A Fancourt. 2015-2017.

£5,627 ‘Using virtual reality to research, assess and treat social anxiety: a realistic-enough approach focused on movement’ Wolfson Research Grant. M Burt, CIs D Riby, L Centifanti 2016.

£14,862 ‘Consumption of energy drinks by young people: pilot study’ The Children’s Foundation. S Visram, D Riby, A Lake. 2014-2015.

£2,443 ‘Exploring a gaze laterality bias in Williams syndrome’ Experimental Psychology Society. PI D Riby (sole applicant) 2013-2014

£9,994 ‘Using Eye Tracking to Explore Visual Distraction in the Classroom for Pupils with Autism’ British Academy Grant. PI: M Hanley CI: D Riby 2013-2014.

£7,468 ‘Can individuals with WS make social evaluations from faces’ British Academy. D Riby. 2011.

£282,000 ‘Cognitive load in face-to-face interactions: Evidence from neuro-developmental disorders’ ESRC. G Doherty-Sneddon D Riby. 2008-2011.

£7,500 'The role of attention mechanisms in the gaze behaviour of individuals with WS' Nuffield Foundation. D Riby. 2010.

£80,712 ‘Applying Eye Tracking to the Exploration of Social Functioning in Autism and WS’. ESRC. Grant report rated as ‘outstanding’. P Hancock D Riby. 2007-2008.

Grants for Impact / Applied Work

£2,461 ‘Supporting Families of individuals with Williams Syndrome – INTU Shopping Centre experiences’ Research Impact Funding award, Durham University. Deborah Riby (PI: Durham). 2017-2020

£7,508 ‘Anxiety in Williams Syndrome: Supporting Families’ Impact Funding award – Durham University. 2015-16

£5,824 ‘Increasing Awareness of Anxiety in Williams syndrome – A Support Package for Teachers in France’ PI: M Hanley CI: D Riby, J Rodgers. Autour des Williams charity (France, exact - €7924) 2015-17.

£4,134 ‘Increasing Awareness of Anxiety in Williams syndrome – A Support Package for Teachers’ Williams syndrome Foundation grant. PI D Riby, CIs J Rodgers, M Hanley. 2014-2015.

£11,664 ‘Developing an Anxiety Intervention Targeted to Williams syndrome’. Williams syndrome Foundation grant. PI: D Riby, CIs: J Rodgers, M Hanley 2013-2014

Grants for Workshops or Seminar Series

£3,500 ‘Anxiety in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Assessment and intervention’ BPS Workshop grant with J Rodgers, E Honey, M Hanley. Event held 18th September 2015. Also related to Impact.

£4,800 Neuro-developmental disorders seminar series. £3,000 BPS Seminar Series Grant. Plus additional £1,500 support from Williams syndrome Foundation and £300 from the Developmental Section of the BPS (total £4,800).D Riby, J van Herwergen, E Farran. 2012-2013.

International Collaboration

  • Dr Masahiro Hirai, Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan
  • Dr Kosuke Asada, Tokyo University, Japan
  • Dr Melanie Porter, Macquarie University, Australia
  • Dr Mikle South, Brigham Young University, USA
  • Professor Kim Cornish, Monash University, Australia

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2017: Advisory Panel: Williams Syndrome Foundation Professional Advisory Panel member (Registered Charity No.281014) since 2014-ongoing
  • 2017: Editorial Board Membership: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (2013-present)
  • 2017: ESRC Grant Assessment Panel A member:
  • 2017: Honorary Appointment: Associate Lecturer, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, UK (2013-ongoing)
  • 2016: Academic Advisory Board: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research advisory board since 2016
  • 2016: Keynote Address: European Conference on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Lille, France
  • 2016: Special Edition Journal Editor: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research ‘Williams syndrome’
  • 2015: Associate Editor:

    Research in Developmental Disabilities (2015-16)

  • 2015: Keynote Address: British Psychological Society, North East Branch Annual Conference, York
  • 2014: Award Winner: British Psychological Society Margaret Donaldson Award for ‘outstanding contribution to Developmental Psychology’ within 10 years of PhD completion
  • 2014: External Examiner: MSc Atypical Child Development, Queens University Belfast (2014-2017)
  • 2014: External Examining of PhD thesis: Several viva examinations for PhD and DClinPsy candidates, including at the Universities of Aberdeen, Sheffield, Institute of Education, UCL, Birmingham, Lancaster, and internationally for both the University of Western Australia and Macquarie University (ongoing)
  • 2014: Keynote Address: Japanese Society for Developmental Psychology Annual Conference, Tokyo
  • 2014: Keynote Address: Kaynote address for Annual Conference British Psychological Society Developmental Section (Amsterdam)
  • 2013: Honorary Appointment: Honorary Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Psychology & Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2012-2019)
  • 2011: Conference Organiser: British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference

Research Groups

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

Journal Article

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2017: The Role of Family Systems in Psychological Outcomes for Children With Rare Genetic Syndromes Associated With Intellectual Disability (£39286.00 from Baily Thomas Charitable Fund)
  • 2015: An Investigation into music perception in children with Williams Syndrome (£7737.00 from Baily Thomas Charitable Fund)
  • 2015: Increasing Awareness of Anxiety in Williams syndrome - A Support Package for Teachers (£5661.00 from Autours des Williams)
  • 2014: ‘Consumption of energy drinks by young people: pilot study’ The Children’s Foundation, £14,862
  • 2013: Anxiety in Williams Syndrome (£11269.00 from Williams Syndrome Foundation)
  • 2013: Face Laterality in William Syndrome (£2500.00 from Experimental Psychology Society)
  • 2013: Using Eye Tracking to Explore Visual Distraction in the Classroom for Pupils with Autism (£9994.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2012: 'Sound Experiences of Individuals with WS’ Williams syndrome Foundation (£2,700)
  • 2012: Neuro-developmental disorders seminar series BPS Seminar Series Grant (£3,000)
  • 2011: 'Can individuals with WS make social evaluations from faces’ British Academy (£7,468)
  • 2010: 'The role of attention mechanisms in the gaze behaviour of individuals with WS' Nuffield Foundation (£7,500)
  • 2008: ‘Cognitive load in face-to-face interactions: Evidence from neuro-developmental disorders’ ESRC (£282,000)
  • 2007: 'Applying Eye Tracking to the Exploration of Social Functioning in Autism and WS’. ESRC (£80,712)

Supervises