After completing my PhD at the University of St Andrews in 1998, I held positions as a Teaching Fellow (St Andrews, UK) and subsequently Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Reader at the University of Aberdeen, UK. I moved to Singapore to join NIE in 2011 as a Senior Research Scientist, and was promoted to Principal Research Scientist in 2015. My research has been funded by government bodies and charities in the UK, US, and Singapore, and my work has been disseminated in the highest quality international peer review journals such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Cognition.
My overarching research interest is the domain-specific and domain-general predictors of children’s mathematical achievement. My research on domain-specific skills focusses on the representations of approximate number and number sense in children and the early identification of children at risk for mathematical difficulties. My work looking at domain predictors of math achievement focusses on working memory and executive function (attentional control skills), and this has also resulted in research examining age-related changes in structure of executive functioning, and the processing demands of executive function tasks. I am also more generally interested in the role played by executive functioning in a range of everyday outcomes, including social and emotional functioning across the lifespan. Recently I have become interested in how the classroom environment can help to develop children’s self-regulation skills, and how this might subsequently impact on children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning.
Research Interest in the Neuroscience of Learning and Education
- Neurophysiological changes following domain-specific and domain-general intervention for mathematical difficulties.
- Accommodation (rather than remediation) of cognitive deficiencies through changes in pedagogical activities neuroimaging of the ‘cognitive load’ of these modified activities.
- Teacher-child interactions (possibly linked to hyper-scanning).
- Neurological changes in typical and atypical aging and how this impacts on older adults executive functioning, social functioning and interactions.