UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Development of language and cognition in typical and atypical populations

This research group works with typically developing children and those with speech, language and communication needs including dyslexia, primary language impairment, dyscalculia, deafness, autistic spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy to understand children's needs and develop theories, assessments and interventions. Methods include psycholinguistic investigation, behavioural experiments including randomised control and case series studies, conversation analysis, exploration and development of health and education practice and use of technology including AAC.


Wendy Best
Investigation of and therapy for speech and language difficulties in children and adults. Current projects are all intervention studies focusing on the following: word-finding, gesture, auditory comprehension and conversation. A key focus is facilitating links between research and clinical practice in Speech and Language Therapy. Previous research has included work with people with anomia, developmental dyslexia, disorders of short term memory, category specific semantic disorder and with word sound deafness.
Principal Investigator: Prof Wendy Best

Merle Mahon
My research focuses on the development of spoken language in deaf children from hearing families and in the use of gesture in the progress of language development. I am particularly interested in how these deaf children learn spoken English when English is an additional language at home.  I am also interested in outcomes for deaf  children and teenagers. I use a range of qualitative research methods including conversation analysis, questionnaire and interview techniques together with quantitative assessments of speech and language. Much of my work involves collection and analysis of longitudinal video data sets.
Principal Investigator: Dr Merle Mahon

Caroline Newton
I am a clinical linguist; my research focuses on the application of linguistic theory and analysis to disordered speech and language, and the contribution of communication disorders to the understanding of speech and language processing. My particular interest is in communication beyond the level of the single word and in everyday contexts, and includes work with both children and adults with a variety of communication difficulties.
Principal Investigator: Dr Caroline Newton

John Swettenham
My main area of research is on social cognitive deficits in autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). I am interested in the development of joint attention and social communication in ASD. Our research group has recently been investigating the perception of motion (including biological motion) in ASD and the extent to which young children with ASD preferentially orient towards biological motion. We have also been investigating the perception of pointing and other joint attention behaviours. Another area of research is on selective attention and perceptual load in ASD; our studies highlight some of the strengths as well as specific weaknesses in ASD. We are also investigating the perception of sign language in deaf children with ASD.
Principal Investigator: Dr John Swettenham

Bonnie Wing-Yin Chow
My research focuses on language and literacy development. I am particularly interested in understanding the factors contributing to language acquisition in bilingual children and developing methods to enhance their language learning. My research involves a range of approaches, including behavioural genetics, and experimental, longitudinal and intervention designs.
Principal Investigator: Dr Bonnie Wing-Yin Chow