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Julia Badger

BSc (Hons) in Human Psychology. MRes in Cognitive Neuroscience. PhD in Child Development.

Senior Research Associate

  • Oxford Risk and Resilience, Genes & Environment
  • Oxford Group for Children's Potential

My research at Oxford is split between two groups: Oxford Risk and Resilience, Genes & Environment (oRANGE), and Oxford Group for Children's Potential (OGCP).

Oxford Risk and Resilience, Genes & Environment

My research focuses on using virtual reality technologies to investigate how adolescents respond psychologically and physiologically to hostile social situations. This work assesses whether adolescents (11-16 years old) at risk of depression are more likely to exhibit hostile interpretations and heightened reactions. This forms part of a larger study into factors associated with resilience and mental health.

I am also part of a large national collaboration evaluating the effectiveness of KiVa school-based bullying programme in reducing bullying and victimisation in primary school children. 

Oxford Group for Children's Potential

My research focuses on the development and use of reasoning tests to identify children underachieving relative to their academic potential. There are a number of reasons why children may underachieve academically, such as reading or attentional difficulties; identifying and providing additional support for these children is a major focus of governmental strategies and educational policy as well as a being important for schools and parents. Reducing underachievement is a key step in school improvement and can help children improve their outcomes.

I work to develop and extend the VESPARCH (verbal and spatial reasoning for children) test as an innovative way of measuring potential. We work with children aged 7-13 in a range of schools nationally and internationally, including those with Special Educational Need status and Highly Selective schools.


Mellanby, J., McElwee, S., & Badger, J.R. (2016).      Verbal and Spatial Reasoning for Children.                Cambridge: Cambridge Assessment.

Currently available in: English, Welsh, German, Cantonese, Spanish, Japanese

Suitable for ages 7-12


I am a Senior Research Associate and a Lecturer within the Department of Experimental Psychology, and the Psychology Tutor for Harris Manchester College. In 2011, I completed my PhD for which I investigated the drive behind the development of inductive reasoning in children. Following my PhD I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in a Family Assessment Service based at the Anna Freud Centre. Here I worked on the 'What Happened Next' project following up children who had gone through court proceedings. In 2013, I moved to Oxford.

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications


Doctoral Thesis

Badger, J.R. (2011). An investigation into children's inductive reasoning strategies: What drives the development of category induction? Available:

The Conversation

Badger, J.R. (2018). SATs results and why the numbers don't add up. Available:

Education Elf

Badger, J.R. (2020). Improving language development: read, play, discuss. Available:

Badger, J.R. (2020). A whole-school approach to enhance social, emotional and behavioural development. Available:

Mental Elf

Badger, J.R. (2021). Mental health issues differ for primary and secondary children: Primary children experience more anxiety and attentional disorders.

Upcoming publications

Badger, J.R., Howarth, B., Svirko, E., & Mellanby, J. Underachievement at school relative to potential: Links between reasoning, phonological decoding, short-term memory and complex grammar (In review).

Badger, J.R., Kano, A., Thackery, T., & Shapiro, L.R. Investigating the relationship between the development of executive functions and inductive reasoning (In review).

Children's book to enhance complex grammar

Click on the title to see my published children's books 'Night-time Cat' and 'Box Cat' (nom de plume Julia Tedd; marketing support provided by Anthony Tedd).

The books are fun and colourful but also subtly include complex grammar structures for early exposure. Suitable for ages 0-7 years.