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Appointment
  • Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology
  • IOE - Psychology & Human Development
  • UCL Institute of Education
Biography

I completed a degree in linguistics and a masters in psycholinguistics at the University of Antwerp. In 2004 I moved to London to work with the late Prof Annette Karmiloff-Smith and completed a MSc in cognitive neuropsychology at Birkbeck College London before completing her PhD in Education (2010) at King’s College London. 


I am currently Head of Research for IOE Psychology and Human Development (shared role with Prof. Andy Tolmie).

I am Executive Member of European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (JURE portfolio)

I am co-ordinator for SIG15 Special Education Needs (EARLI)

I am a Member of the British Psychology Society.

Research Summary

My research focuses on improving educational outcomes and wellbeing for typically developing children and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) using evidence from cognitive and developmental psychology as well as neuroscience.

Development is a complex process, involving interactions between various domains across levels of description, including biological processes (genes and brain), cognition and behaviour (see model Morton and Frith 1995). Environmental differences impact each of these levels over development, including education, policies related to education and SEND, and home environment. In addition, cognitive processes include both domain general and domain specific ones and the impact of each of these processes on developmental outcomes are likely to change over development and differ across individuals. In sum, cognitive development is complex. My ultimate goal is to obtain a better understanding of the complexity of development, especially the impact of environmental factors such as educational practice, education policies, and home environment, on number and language development through the study of cross-syndrome comparisons (for example Autism, Down syndrome, Mathematical learning difficulties, Williams syndrome) and individual differences. A better understanding of this complexity will allow for an improved SEND pedagogy that is based on basic research and as such evidenced-informed. 

My research is interdisciplinary including evidence from educational neuroscience, psychology, linguistics and education. I use a range of methodologies, including eye tracking studies, developmental trajectories and longitudinal studies as well as interventions programmes in order to obtain a better understanding of the complexity of development. 

My research has been funded by various funding bodies, including the Nuffield Foundation, Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, British Academy, Jerome Lejeune Foundation and Williams Syndrome Foundation

Teaching Summary

I am currently module leader for Research Design and Methods (2019-2021) as well as Psychology of Special Needs (2021-). 

I am a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy.

I am passionate about new and interactive ways of learning, including flipped classroom approaches and educational technologies. I also think it is important for students to have opportunities to develop hands-on and relevant research experience that can help their employment and future careers. As such I started the Researcher Experience Placement Scheme (REPS) for the department of Psychology and Human Development in 2021.

Academic Background
2012   Postgraduate Certificate Kingston University
2010   Doctor of Philosophy King's College London
2005   Master of Science Birkbeck College
2004   Master of Arts (Hons) Universiteit Antwerpen
2002   Bachelor of Arts Universiteit Antwerpen
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