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Research Projects


The impact of parent and teacher maths anxiety on primary school children's maths performance

The project will assess level of maths anxiety in adults who are the key influences in children's developing mathematical knowledge to assess whether either of these individuals play a role in children's performance on school math assessments.

Dr. Tom Gallagher-Mitchell

Children's experience of Forest Nursery and how this influences their social and cognitive development

The project will conduct observational recordings of children's learning activities in Nature2Nurture forest nursery, whilst also assessing children's happiness and academic skills. 

Dr. Tom Gallagher-Mitchell


Happiness at school

The project aims to investigate whether children (10-11 year-olds) and adolescents (14-15 year-olds) feel happy at school and whether this impact children’s and adolescents’ well-being and their academic achievement.

Dr. Antonio Zuffiano and Dr. Belen Lopez-Perez 

Prosociality and life satisfaction among university students (18+)

The aim of this study is to test the positive effect of prosociality on life satisfaction across lifespan comparing young and older adults.

Dr. Belen Lopez-Perez and Dr. Antonio Zuffiano

Family perception

This project aims to examine if parents/carers hold different views about their children in daily situations.

Dr. Belen Lopez-Perez and Dr. Antonio Zuffiano


DraStEE (Drama, stories, empathy and education)

The aim of this study is to explore how drama and embodied cognition can support children’s social and emotional understanding. Children, aged 3-4 years, play out the characters of a story and experience their dilemmas by being introduced to opportunities of feeling the mental states and feelings of the others. Does the enactment facilitate the capacity of taking the perspective of the other? In what ways can role play of story characters enhance children’s emotional and social awareness?

Dr Zoi Nikiforidou, Dr Jim Stack and Dr Babs Anderson


Learning to write and the integration of multisensory information

How well we remember information is important in reading and writing. The working memory model has been widely recognised in Psychology and Education as being able to explain the rates at which children develop their language and literacy skills. I am currently focused on measuring the accuracy with which children aged 4-6 years develop skills in binding together shapes and sounds in working memory. The ability to develop effective strategies to bring pieces of information together in their minds is thought to be a factor in explaining why some children find reading and writing more challenging than others. I undertake this work with Dr Simon Davies, who is an expert in visual attention processes

Dr Lorna Bourke and Dr Simon Davies

Autism, executive function, emotion regulations and writing with imagination

We work with children with Autism aged 9-11 years of age and know some of the main challenges they face in relation to monitoring and planning their behaviour, as well as understanding and controlling emotion. The skills related to this are also important in fiction writing. We want to try to assess how far they explain their use of imagination when describing scenes in stories.

Dr Lorna Bourke


Environmental influences on pre-schoolers experiences of ownership

This small-scale longitudinal study with three and four year olds (N=12) assesses how differences within indoor and naturalistic outdoor preschool sessions afford children different challenges relating to ownership of play object and ideas. 

 Dr Jim Stack

Emotional understanding and embodied cognition through dramatic play

This project aims to identify the features and characteristics of embodiment while children (aged 3-4 years) enact story characters, through their emotional states versus through actual events.

 Dr Jim Stack and Dr Zoi Nikiforidou

Forest school provision and the emergence of social understanding

In this study I am working in collaboration with Dr Zoi Nikiforidou. We are motivated by an attempt to provide a better theoretical understanding of the impact of forest school provision on children’s emerging social understanding and prosocial behaviour’s. This is a longitudinal study beginning in January 2017. It will follow children from the age of three years up to school leaving age.

Dr Jim Stack and Zoi Nikiforidou


Group works of children

I am interested in understanding how children from different age groups work and create in a group and how do they make group decisions. Specifically I am focusing on interpersonal understanding taking place in group works of children. Moreover, I am also interested in understanding how technology can improve children’s decision making and creativity. Particularly, whether different tools of technology can create different co-engagement experiences for children is an area of future interest.

Dr Pinar Oztop