Katie Gilligan

Following completion of my PhD at the UCL Institute of Education in 2018, I am now a lecturer in cognitive development at the University of Surrey. My research interests lie broadly in the domains of Cognition, Learning and Development in childhood populations. My current research specifically focuses on spatial and mathematical development, in both typical and atypical populations. I am interested in understanding the factors that influence success in mathematics including: cognitive predictors such as spatial thinking, memory and language; affective predictors like mathematics anxiety; and early home factors like mathematical play and spatial language exposure. My research portfolio includes a range of methodological approaches such as secondary analysis of nationally representative cohort study data, e.g., the Millennium Cohort Study; cross-sectional experimental-based approaches to studying development; and intervention-based research

Before moving to the University of Surrey I completed my PhD in Cognitive Development under the supervision of Professor Emily Farran (of the CoGDeV lab) and Professor Michael Thomas (DNL).
Some of more specific research topics that I am currently working on include:

  • Developmental trajectories of spatial ability in childhood
  • The role of spatial thinking for mathematics outcomes (and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics achievement more generally)
  • Associations between spatial thinking and academic outcomes in atypical groups
  • The development of spatial language skills
  • Cognitive training and interventions in childhood
  • The role of affectional factors such as maths anxiety on maths performance
  • The role of the early home environment on mathematics outcomes
  • The effect of exercise on cognitive outcomes