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Personal profile


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. 

External Collaborations 

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. 

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

Desired research direction

My overarching research theme is examining how core socio-cognitive strengths and weaknesses impact wider areas of functioning in Autism and Disabilities (i.e. clinical co-morbidity, forensic applications, risk awareness, social media use, and gaming).

Area of academic expertise - outline

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

- Early social and cognitive development in infants.

- Self-concept in typical and atypical groups. 

- 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'.

Face Perception: Are you an expert in all things FACES?

Target collaborative companies

Digital media


Innovation centres

Target collaborative organisations


Education and Inclusive learning

Police Scotland


  • BF Psychology
  • Autism
  • Face Perception
  • Eye-tracking
  • Visual Attention
  • Disabilities
  • Cognition
  • Developmental Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Karri Gillespie-Smith is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 1 Similar Profiles
Autistic Disorder Medicine & Life Sciences
Ownership Medicine & Life Sciences
Aptitude Medicine & Life Sciences
Communication Medicine & Life Sciences
Cognition Medicine & Life Sciences
Premature Birth Medicine & Life Sciences
Biomarkers Medicine & Life Sciences
Autism Spectrum Disorder Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2012 2018

3 Downloads (Pure)

The I in autism: severity and social functioning in autism is related to self-processing

Gillespie-Smith, K., Ballantyne, C., Branigan, H. P., Turk, D. J. & Cunningham, S., 1 Mar 2018, In : British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 36, 1, p. 127–141

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Autistic Disorder

An eye-tracking study on the impact of scene complexity and task engagement on attention allocation in children with autism

Gillespie-Smith, K., Ballantyne, C., McGuire, A., Hancock, P. J. B., Doherty-Sneddon, G. & Riby, D., 30 Aug 2017.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Bringing methods into focus: how task demand and scene complexity drives attention allocation in autism

Gillespie-Smith, K., Doherty-Sneddon, G., Ballantyne, C. & Hancock, P., 18 Dec 2017.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Autistic Disorder

Children with autism spectrum disorder do show self-processing biases: evidence from an ownership paradigm

Gillespie-Smith, K., Ballantyne, C., Turk, D. J. & Cunningham, S., 8 Jul 2016.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Self Concept
Play and Playthings

Level of functioning in Autism associated with self-processing ability: evidence from an ownership paradigm

Gillespie-Smith, K., Branigan, H. P., Ballantyne, C., Turk, D. J. & Cunningham, S., 13 Sep 2016.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Open Access
Autistic Disorder
Self Concept
Theory of Mind

Activities 2017 2018

  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

Castang Foundation Meeting

Karri Gillespie-Smith (Speaker)
13 Mar 201814 Mar 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Meet the Expert: An eye-tracking exploration of how children see the world.

Karri Gillespie-Smith (Contributor), Carrie Ballantyne (Contributor)
23 Jul 201727 Jul 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition