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Dr Maria Mengisidou
Appointment
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • IOE - Social Science
  • UCL Institute of Education
Biography

BSc (First Class Honors) in Psychology, University of Crete (Greece)

MSc in Child Development, UCL Institute of Education

PhD in Psycholinguistics, UCL Institute of Education

Research Summary
My PhD project had two objectives. A first objective was to investigate the semantic structure in Greek children with reading and/or language disorder using semantic fluency tasks which provide a rich dataset and which can be analyzed in a way that probes children’s lexical organization and how efficiently children can access stored knowledge. To this end, two theoretical models that could potentially account for semantic fluency difficulties were considered: a first model which attributes semantic fluency difficulties to impoverished lexical-semantic structure, and a second model which attributes semantic fluency difficulties to slower retrieval processes while the lexical-semantic structure is intact. A second objective was to test and disentangle two prominent phonological hypotheses of developmental reading and language disorders using phonological fluency tasks: one which considers children’s phonological representations to be degraded and the other which considers phonological representations to be intact, but less accessible. I also researched the specificity of the two phonological hypotheses using a nonverbal (design) fluency task drawing on visuospatial skills, without requiring phonological representations and phonological processing skills. I compared two groups of children to answer my research questions: a group of typically-developing children aged 6-12 years and a group of children with reading and/or language disorder aged 7-12 years.

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