In 2011 I completed a PhD at the University of Stirling on "Eye-tracking explorations of attention to faces for communicative cues in Autism Spectrum Disorders". Following this (2011-2012) I worked at the University of Aberdeen, Self Lab, as a Post-Doctoral Fellow investigating the self-referential effect (SRE) in children and how the SRE impacts on encoding and recall within learning environments. In 2012-2013 I was a researcher in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh exploring infant's early cognitive processing using eye-tracking methodology. This methodology is now being applied to different at-risk infant groups including babies who are born preterm. After the completion of my research post I was based at Heriot Watt University as a Teaching Fellow (2013-2014) before being appointed as a lecturer in Psychology at the University of West of Scotland. 


I collaborate on topics such as atypical development, face perception and gaze behaviour with Prof. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, Newcastle University; Dr Deborah Riby, Durham University; and Prof. Peter Hancock, University of Stirling. 

In utilising eye-tracking methodology to explore cognitive functioning in infants I collaborate with Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson, Prof. Anne O'Hare, Dr James Boardman and Prof Jane Norman at the University of Edinburgh. 

I also collaborate with Dr David Turk, Dr Phillip Collard, at Bristol University and Dr Sheila Cunningham from Abertay University on topics involving self cognition; and Dr Kimberly Collins, at Teeside University in Developmental perspectives in Forensic Psychology.

Desired research direction.

My overall research theme is exploring the complex relationships between core socio-cognitive deficits and wider functioning (i.e. clinical symptomology, forensic applications, social media use) in developmental disorders such as Autism.

Area of research expertise - Outline

- Understanding social and cognitive development in typical and atypical populations.

- Early social and cognitive development in infants.

- Self-concept in typical and atypical populations. 

- Eye-tracking; social attention; visual attention; face perception; processing stimulus complexity, familiarity and realism

Current research activities.

'Self' processing in Autism.

Mentalising ability and risk awareness in Autism.

Vulnerable groups within the justice system.

Autism and Social Media.

'Selfie' posting behaviours: A modern concept of 'Self'.

Mapping face perception abilities: Is there a Face 'construct'?

Target Collaborative Companies (National, International, up to 3).

Digital media


Innovation centres

Target Collaborative Organisations (National, International, up to 3).


Education and Inclusive learning

Police Scotland

ID: 27858