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Alexander Wilson

BA MSc


Oxford Study of Children's Communication Impairments (Bishop Lab)

I am working on a DPhil in Professor Dorothy Bishop's research group, the OSCCI lab. My interests include the psychology of language and developmental disorders, including developmental language disorder, autism and genetic conditions that have an impact on cognitive development, such as sex chromosome trisomy.

My DPhil is part of an ERC-funded project called 'CANDICE: Cerebral Asymmetry: New Directions in Correlates and Etiology'. I am studying the genetics of cerebral lateralisation. Cerebral lateralisation is the phenomenon by which one side of the brain is more involved in certain cognitive functions that the other side. For language, the left tends to be more active than the right in most people, though there are substantial individual differences. In a twin sample, I am looking at whether these differences in lateralisation are heritable, and whether they are related to language disorder.

I am also testing the relationship between language and lateralisation in children with sex chromosome trisomy, a genetically defined condition that has a particular effect on language compared to other cognitive functions. Sex chromosome trisomy is a relatively common genetic disorder, but is understudied, and I am interested in understanding more about the cognitive and psychiatric aspects of having an extra sex chromosome. This would be useful for those affected by the condition, and would contribute to our knowledge about the relationship between genes and psychology.