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Our PhD students and their research topics

This page provides a summary of research students in the department.

Current PhD students

Student Supervisor(s) Research topic
BEGUS, Katarina Victoria Southgate Nurturing young childrens curiosity: a highway to learning
BERGER, Natalie Eddy Davelaar Aging and Cognitive control: The role of emotions
BERGGREN, Nicholas Naz Derakhshan Trait anxiety and attentional control
BRAND, Christopher Mike Oaksford A probabilistic model of moral reasoning
CAREY, Daniel Fred Dick Low-level representations of auditory input and learning
CHAUDHRI, Waseema Jonathan Smith Experiences of lone parents with cancer and their requirements for supportive care
CRUZ DE ECHEVERRIA LOEBELL, Nicole Mike Oaksford Processes in deductive reasoning with uncertain premises
DAVIS, Rachel Michael Thomas Computational modelling to investigate developmental trajectories of autism
de GUZMAN, Marie Geoff Bird Pro Social Beahvour - Social Neuroscience
de KLERK, Carina Victoria Southgate crossing the divide: how infant brain solves the correspondence problem
D'SOUZA, Dean Annette Karmiloff Smith are early behavioral and neurphysiological markers of autism syndrome-specific
EDEY, Rosanna Clare Press Biological motion processing in individuals with ASD
ETIENNE, Mervyn Eddy Davelaar Cognitive Insight: Effects of Neurofeedback
FIGUEROA, Victor Fiona Tasker Same sex parenting in Chile
FILIPPETTI, Maria Mark Johnson Investigating self-awareness and the brain default network in 5-month-old infants using NIRS
FISHER, Katie Martin Eimer Recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces in typical and atypical perception
FREIER, Livia Denis Mareschal The interplay of top-down and bottom-up constraints in the development of the selection of action
FRENCH, Jane Jacqueline Barnes Community Psychology: Neighbourhood & Adolescent outcomes
GEE, Prunella Jonathan Smith 'Men's experience of retirement'.
GUEST, Olivia Rick Cooper Modelling Disorders of Semantic Memory
HARADA, Nanami Atsushi Senju Culture and autism: Comparing Japan and the UK
HARTIE, Kevin Jonathan Smith IPA physiological impact of spinal cord injury
HARTIGAN, Alex Anne Richards The time course of disgust contamination
HUGHES, Kate Annette Karmiloff-Smith Studying the link between Alzheimers and Down syndrome in children
IHENACHO, Susana Belinda Brooks-Gordon Living with female genital mutilation
KIM, Ji Yeoun Fiona Tasker the perceived influences of early seperation from parents: korean study
KRISHNAN, Saloni Fred Dick developmental contributions of early perceptual and motor biases to language learning
MAKATSORI, Melina Anne Miles Psychological impact of allergies
MARES, Ines Atsushi Senju
MERMELSHTINE, Roni Jacqueline Barnes The prediction of academic achievement from mother-child interactions in the first year
MIELKE, Manuela Annette Karmiloff Smith Number processing in infancy
MITSOPOULOS, Constantinos Rick Cooper Reinforcement learning and internal models in the control of action
NAKO, Rebecca Tim Smith Attention in naturalistic scences
PAPAGEORGIOU, Konstantinos Angelica Ronald Genetic associations in attention
PAPERA, Massimiliano Anne Richards Awareness of visual stimuli and its relation with attention and memory.
Papera, M., Cooper, R. P., & Richards, Anne (2014). Artificially created stimuli produced by a genetic algorithm using a saliency model as its fitness function show that Inattentional Blindness modulates performance in a pop-out visual search paradigm. Vision Research , ISSN 0042-6989. (In Press)
PHILLIPS, Natalie Virginia Eatough An investigation of the experience of personal growth of female undergraduates in the UK
POMIECHOWSKA, Barbara Natasha Kirkham development and neural basis of multimodal object representation in infancy
QI, Xiaofei Ted Melhuish The impact of preschool experience on children's school readiness in less-developed rural China
RENDELL, Nick Eddy Davelaar Computational Modelling
RICHOMME, Alan Michael Thomas Computational Modelling / Semantic cognition
RODRIGUEZ, Irati Tim Smith development of fixation durations in complex natural scenarios over the first year of life, a computational model
SAFFARI, Ayden Emma Meaburn Integration of multiple datasets for investigation into the genetic basis of autism
SANTIESTEBAN, Idalmis Geoff Bird self-other representations in social cognition - does culture matter
SCHERFF, Aline Angelica Ronald ASD/ADHD
SEXTON, Nicholas Rick Cooper The computational basis of executive function
SIERADZKA, Dominika Angelica Ronald
SOOD, Mariam Marty Sereno Neural Basis of Comprehension
SPIERS, Johanna Jonathan Smith Decision making in living kidney donors and receipients
STARR, Rachel Jonathan Smith How do people with congenital  disorders think about selective preproduction
SWAN, Kristen Natasha Kirkham Children's developing learning mechanisms
SYMONS, Germaine Mike Oaksford Actual scientific reasoning from a Bayesian perspective
THACKERAY, Lisa Virginia Eatough Using IPA to explore the experience of happiness
TOWLER, John Martin Eimer electrophysiological and behavioral investigations of face processing and spatial attention
VAGNONI, Eleonora Matt Longo Influence of emotion on space perception
VANCE, James Mike Oaksford Negations in reasoning
VERDE RIVERA, Jose Francisco Virginia Eatough Pregnancy and motherhood: An interpretative phenomenological analysis
VERNETTI, Angelina Atsushi Senju Social Cognition in Autism
WHELAN, Yvonne Edward Barker Oppositionality: Childhood predictions and outcomes
WRIGHT, Gordon Geoff Bird Social Neuroscience: Deception

Completed PhDs and doctorates

  • Phillip Pell 'Influence of context on the neural representation of facial expressions' (MRC-funded). (Supervisor: Professor Anne Richards)
  • Georgina Portelli Grammatical and conceptual categories of gender in Maltese and English.  (Supervisor: Professor Michael Thomas)
  • Lymarie Rodriguez My research project examines young men’s experiences of self-change and recovery from addiction in 12-Step fellowships (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous). I am interested in understanding how young adults move into a life-structure without drug and alcohol  abuse, and how participation in these fellowships influences their changing sense of self-identity. The study has a particular focus on conceptualizing self-change as the core process of any recovering journey, and employs various methodical strategies (i.e. case studies, longitudinal research) with IPA as the main analytical framework. Contact: (Supervisor:  Professor Jonathan A Smith)
  • Stuart Rusby Childhood temporary separation: Long-term effects of wartime evacuation in World War 2. (Supervisor:  Dr Fiona Tasker)
  • Dana Shai Maternal embodied mentalisation: Nonverbal manifestions of mentalisations in mother-infant interaction. (Supervisor:  Professor Jay Belsky)
  • Monica Shiakou Play and learning attitudes of Greek-Cypriot parents and teachers: Their impact on 4-6 year olds. (Supervisor:  Professor Jay Belsky )
  • Pnina Shinebourne My Phd examines women’s experience of addiction and recovery with particular focus on metaphors and images in participants’ accounts and visual materials. I am involved in the Pluralism in Qualitative Research project (funded by Birkbeck & BPS) applying different qualitative methods to one interview to explore creative tensions resulting from a pluralistic qualitative approach. I supervise several research projects applying IPA to psychotherapy.

Shinebourne, P. and Smith,  J.A. (2009). Alcohol and the self: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of addiction and its impact on the sense of self and identity. Addiction Research & Theory, 17,152-167. Contact: (Supervisor:   Professor Jonathan A Smith)

  • Sarah Snoxall The role of prior knowledge in children's categorisation.Funded by the ESRC. (Supervisor:  Professor Denis Mareschal)
  • Leah Tomkins My PhD is concerned with the experience of being a carer, and with how people manage to balance their work commitments with the responsibility of caring for a relative.  I have a particular interest in epistemology and in using phenomenology's broad philosophical heritage to develop different ways of conceptualising the self, and to explore new methodological possibilities, such as using IPA with focus groups.

Tomkins, L. and Eatough, V. (in press) Reflecting on the use of IPA with focus groups: pitfalls and potentials. Qualitative Research in Psychology. Contact: (Supervisor:  Dr Virginia Eatough)

  • Jo Wiltshire Relational priming and analogical reasoning in children. Funded by the ESRC. (Supervisor:  Professor Michael Thomas and Professor Denis Mareschal)
  • Rachel Wu Learning to learn: How infants learn to use attentional cue.  (Supervisor:  Natasha Kirkham with Denis Mareschal)
  • Kalanit Ben-Ari Adult attachment styles, parental marital relationships and romantic relationships. (Supervisor: Professor Jay Belsky)
  • Cornelia Bremer 'Differences in lateralised attentional processing patterns as a function of emotion, anxiety and handedness using the dot probe paradigm' (ESRC funded). (Supervisor: Professor Anne Richards)
  • Samuel Cheadle Mechanisms of visual binding. (Supervisor:  Professor Marius Usher)
  • Tessa Dekker Development of cortical organisation for graspable objects. Funded by the EU. (Supervisor:  Professor Marty Sereno)
  • Sarah Dilks Building bridges to observational perspectives: Mapping processes in psychological therapy in psychosis.  (Supervisor:  Dr Fiona Tasker)
  • Anat Elhalal Role of PFC in memory.  (Supervisor:  Professor Marius Usher )
  • Roberto Filippi The brain basis of bilingual language acquisition. (Supervisor:  Professor Michael Thomas)
  • Dr Karla Holmboe Funded by MRC/ESRC interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship. (Supervisor:   Dr Angelica Ronald)
  • Themis Karaminis The computational modelling of atypical language development  (Principal supervisor: Michael Thomas; second supervisor: Richard Cooper)
  • Robert King The evolutionary function of the female orgasm. (Professor Jay Belsky)
  • Victoria Knowland Audiovisual integration and developmental reading deficits.( Professor Michael Thomas )
  • Hanna Marno The effect of social context on object perception and memory processes.  (Dr Eddy Davelaar with Prof Gergely Csibra )
  • Frances Minhinnick My research is an in-depth examination of how ordinary people experience personal financial debt. This is an important issue particularly in the current economic climate. I have conducted the interviews and am currently doing the analysis. This is part of a Doctorate in family and systemic psychotherapy run jointly by Birkbeck and the Institute of Family Therapy. Contact:  (Professor Jonathan A Smith )
  • Frank Baughman Empirical and computational investigations of the relationship between intelligence and development: mental-age matching studies of cognitive variability in the normal range.  (Supervisor: Professor Michael Thomas)
  • Kalanit Ben-Ari Adult attachment styles, parental marital relationships and romantic relationships. (Supervisor: Professor Jay Belsky)
  • Cornelia Bremer 'Differences in lateralised attentional processing patterns as a function of emotion, anxiety and handedness using the dot probe paradigm' (ESRC funded). (Supervisor: Professor Anne Richards)
  • Samuel Cheadle Mechanisms of visual binding. (Supervisor:  Professor Marius Usher)
  • Tessa Dekker Development of cortical organisation for graspable objects. Funded by the EU. (Supervisor:  Professor Marty Sereno)
  • Sarah Dilks Building bridges to observational perspectives: Mapping processes in psychological therapy in psychosis.  (Supervisor:  Dr Fiona Tasker)
  • Haiko Ballieux Infant object perception and action.( Principal supervisor: Professor Denis Mareschal; second supervisor: Richard Cooper)
  • Andreas Aresti My PhD explores reformed male ex-prisoners' experiences of self-change,  focusing on 'what it is like to live with the ex-offender status' & how  this is negotiated in everyday life, when considering both the negative & positive implications attached to the term. Findings show ex-offender status is a binary phenomenon with a contradictory influence on the reformed offender's sense of self and suggest existing policy can be detrimental to ex-offenders who have genuinely turned their lives around.

Aresti, A., Eatough, V. and Brooks-Gordon, B. (in press). Doing time after time: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of reformed ex-prisoners' experiences of self-change, identity and career opportunities. Psychology, Crime & Law. Contact: (Supervisor  Dr Virginia Eatough)

  • Nadja Althaus Effects of word learning on infant categorisation.Funded by the EU (Supervisor: Professor Denis Mareschal)
  • Caspar Addyman Rule-based category learning in infants.Funded by the EU. ( Supervisor: Professor Denis Mareschal)
  • Nadja Althaus: Investigating the role of word learning in category acquisition. (Supervisor: Dr Jennifer Aydelott)
  • Tahereh L. Ansari (2006 -2010): The cognitive and neural correlates of attentional control in anxiety (MSc funded by School Studentship; and PhD funded by ESRC studentship). Methodologies: Eye-movements and ERPs. (Supervisor: Dr Naz Derakshan)
  • Charlene Coore (2005 -2010 ): Exposure to violence and cognitive biases in Jamaican children (Common-Wealth studentship). Methodologies: Cognitive and Behavioural measures. (Supervisors: Professor Jacqueline Barnes and Dr Naz Derakshan)
  • Pari Farzim: Children's accounts of having a parent with mental health problems. Professor Jonathan A Smith
  • Sean Hammond (2010): Children's Story Authoring with Propp's Morphology (principal supervisor: Helen Pain, Edinburgh; second supervisor: Dr Tim Smith
  • Maria Kakogianni: The development of autonomy among young people with learning disabilities and psychiatric disorders: The impact of gender. (Supervisor: Dr Fiona Tasker)
  • Rob Leech (2005): Development of Analogical Reasoning (principal supervisor: Denis Mareschal; second supervisor: Richard Cooper)
  • Robert McCandless: Facilitating reflexive abilities in family therapy
  • David Pentecost: Psychiatrists' views of ADHD. Professor Jonathan A Smith
  • Silvia Rigato: Interaction between emotional facial expression and eye gaze processing in adults and infants. Professor Mark Johnson
  • Oliver Robinson: Crisis, development and the self. Professor Jonathan A Smith
  • Nicolas Ruh (January 2007): Acquisition and Control of Sequential Routine Activities: Modelling and Empirical Studies (principal supervisor: Richard Cooper; second supervisor: Denis Mareschal)
  • Haggay Seri: Jewish parents' perceptions of circumcision. Professor Jonathan A Smith
  • Sue Stuart Smith: The personal experience of IVF. Professor Jonathan A Smith
  • Susan Wagstaff: Depression and mothering. Professor Jonathan A Smith