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Julia Badger

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

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • 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.


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Lecturer within the Department of Experimental Psychology. 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.

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Key publications



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Short Description

Doctoral Thesis

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

Research Summary

Upcoming publications

Badger, J.R., & Shapiro, L.R. We're going to the zoo: Interactive educational sessions with animals boosts category induction in children (Invited resubmission)

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

Badger, J.R., & Mellanby, J. Producing and understanding complex conditionals: When does it happen and why does it matter? (In review)

Badger, J.R., Howarth, B., & Mellanby, J. Why can't all children reach their potential at school? (In preparation).