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I read Psychology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), spending a year as a visiting student at Queen’s University, in Canada. I then moved to London for a PhD at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, supervised by Professors Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Jon Driver, in close collaboration with Prof Kim Cornish (now at Monash University, Australia). After a brief visiting fellowship (now developed into an ongoing collaboration) at the Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology, Cornell University, in 2003 I became a lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham. I have been based in Oxford since October 2006.
BSc (St. Andrews), PhD (UCL)
Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
- Fellow of St Catherine's College
- Associate Head for Education
Attention, Brain & Cognitive Development
My research focuses on the development of attentional control and those underlying attentional difficulties, from their neural correlates to their outcomes on emerging cognitive abilities. It is important because attention influences how we learn and behave in everyday situations, and it is particularly relevant in the classroom. Many developmental disorders are characterised by attention difficulties, and I aim to understand how they are similar, how they differ, and how difficulties matter to learning.
Understanding these questions involves combining the study of typical attentional control with research on neurodevelopmental disorders of attention that affect molecular pathways and neural circuits involved in attentional control development: 1) disorders with a well-defined genetic aetiology (e.g., fragile X syndrome, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, sex chromosomal trisomies); and 2) complex behavioural syndromes of mixed aetiology (e.g., AD/HD). Ultimately, this work is of interest both to basic neuroscience and, most importantly, to the families and individuals who are affected by these disorders.
The attentive brain: insights from developmental cognitive neuroscience.
Amso D. and Scerif G., (2015), Nat Rev Neurosci, 16, 606 - 619
Annual research review: Rare genotypes and childhood psychopathology - Uncovering diverse developmental mechanisms of ADHD risk
Scerif G. and Baker K., (2015), Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 56, 251 - 273
Multi-modal distraction: insights from children's limited attention.
Matusz PJ. et al, (2015), Cognition, 136, 156 - 165
Age group and individual differences in attentional orienting dissociate neural mechanisms of encoding and maintenance in visual STM.
Shimi A. et al, (2014), J Cogn Neurosci, 26, 864 - 877
The multiple subfunctions of attention: differential developmental gateways to literacy and numeracy.
Steele A. et al, (2012), Child Development, 83, 2028 - 2041
The functional consequences of social distraction: Attention and memory for complex scenes.
Doherty BR. et al, (2017), Cognition, 158, 215 - 223
Early maltreatment effects on adolescent attention control to non-emotional and emotional distractors.
Gray P. et al, (2016), Aust J Psychol, 68, 143 - 153
Top-Down Activation of Spatiotopic Sensory Codes in Perceptual and Working Memory Search.
Kuo BC. et al, (2016), J Cogn Neurosci, 28, 996 - 1009
Electrophysiological markers of newly acquired symbolic numerical representations: the role of magnitude and ordinal information
Merkley R. et al, (2016), ZDM - Mathematics Education, 48, 279 - 289
Children with sex chromosome trisomies: parental disclosure of genetic status.
Gratton NC. et al, (2016), Eur J Hum Genet, 24, 638 - 644