Developmental Psychology

About us

The work of this group has three main strands:

  • cognitive and social development
  • language and literacy
  • development and disorder.

Some of our research focuses on the description of typical development and explanation of developmental processes in different domains. Other work is concerned with understanding the mechanisms underlying atypical development and an examination of ways to support children, young people and their families.

Much of our work is conducted in schools and family homes. Research conducted on site at Oxford Brookes usually takes place in one of our specialist labs. We have a BabyLab with special facilities including an observation room and eye-tracker. The PuMA (Perception and Motion Analysis) Lab houses a 3D motion analysis system, with infrared cameras to track the coordinates of small reflective markers placed on the body to helps us understand how movements are planned and executed and to investigate the nature of movement difficulties. We also have a Writing Lab with equipment for the detailed recording and analysis of spelling, handwriting and keyboarding behaviour.

Baby playing with toys

Research impact

Child riding a bike

Several staff in this research group work with professionals from other disciplines including health and education and are concerned with the production of practical assessment tools and the evaluation of intervention approaches to help children and young people achieve their full potential.

For example, staff have developed and published a new suite of standardised assessment tools providing practitioners with means to improve identification of and support for individuals with movement and handwriting difficulties across the world. Other staff have developed an online intervention to help improve the sleep of children with epilepsy. This is currently being evaluated to see how this impacts the sleep and quality of life of the children and their families. 

We also engage in various public engagement events to share our research with parents, children, professionals and the wider community.


Luci Wiggs

Professor Luci Wiggs

Professor of Psychology

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Name Role Email
Dr Olivia Afonso Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Professor Anna Barnett Professor of Psychology
Professor Vincent Connelly Professor & Programme Lead for Psychology
Dr Georgia Cook Postdoctoral Research Assistant and Associate Lecturer
Professor Guida de Abreu Professor of Psychology
Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Professor Margaret Harris Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Dr Ben Kenward Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Kelly Lambert Researcher
Dr Claire Lee Research Fellow, Centre for Psychological Research
Dr Lynsey O'Rourke Associate Researcher and Psychology Demonstrator
Dr Nichola Stuart Associate Researcher in Psychology
Kirsty Walter Psychology Demonstrator
Professor Kate Wilmut Professor of Psychology


Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Alison Cotton Special Educational Needs in the children and families of Armed Forces Personnel; are they over-represented and why might this be the case? Dr Dianne Newbury, Professor Vincent Connelly


Fiyory Ghezae Nonlinear pedagogy to support children in play and physical activity Professor Kate Wilmut


Shannon Gibson Development of Word Learning Heuristics in Monolingual and Bilingual Infants Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez, Dr Olivia Afonso, Professor Vincent Connelly


Teresa Joyce Executive Function in children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder Professor Anna Barnett, Dr Nichola Stuart 2021
Parmida Mohammadpour Home Numeracy Practices of Primary School Children: Parent Perspectives Professor Anna Barnett, Professor Guida de Abreu 2022
Fiona Tierney Families’ experience of using sleep-related routines with their young children Professor Anna Barnett, Dr Georgia Cook, Professor Luci Wiggs