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Julia Badger

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

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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


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

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

Oxford Group for Children's Potential

My research focuses on the development of reasoning and the use of reasoning tests to identify those 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 with the Oxford Group for Children’s Potential (OGCP) 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.

Oxford Risk and Resilience, Genes & Environment

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


I am a Research Fellow 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:

Upcoming publications

Svirko, E., Gabbott, E., Badger, J.R., & Mellanby, J. Is conditional sentence acquisition related to understanding the principles of scientific enquiry? (Invited resubmission)

Badger, J.R., Howarth, B., Svirko, E., & Mellanby, J. Causes of underachievement at school relative to potential (In review).