Chat Lab

People and contacts


Nicola Yuill Portrait of Nicola Yuill

I study how technology can be used to support collaborative work and play in children with typical and atypical development, based on theories of social and cognitive development. My PhD work on Theory of Mind led to research in children's language comprehension, followed by work on understanding language ambiguity in riddles and mothers' conversations with children. This prompted my interest in technology's role in how children learn through conversation - culminating in setting up the ChaTLab.


Samantha Holt Portrait of Samantha Holt

I am a PhD student at the University of Sussex with a background in psychology.  My research interests are the social cognitive impairments found in children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and technology to enable them to learn.



Tamas Borbely Portrait of Tamas Borbely

Having worked as a psychology research assistant at the University of London and as a statistician in the Government Statistical Service, I returned to Sussex to embark on a DPhil in psychology.  My research focusses on how technologically-augmented toys can support social and language development in children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.


 Zoe HopkinsPortrait of Zoe Hopkins

I hold a PhD studentship for the ‘Meeting of Minds in Conversation’ project, which employs a technologically-augmented playset to support the verbal interactions of children with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC). My research is focused on linguistic alignment, and how this can promote better social communication in ASC children. Previously, I worked at the Autism Clinic, within the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore.


 Georgia LeithPicture of Geortia Leith

 My focus is on parent-child interactions during problem-solving activities.  Using the concepts of scaffolding, contingent shifting and self-regulatory behaviours, I explore how the parent supports their child and what factors might influence this support.  The aim of this work is to contribute to research into how to make homework sessions more effective.


Stefan Kreitmayer

Picture of Stefan Kreitmayer

I am a 3rd year full-time PhD student at The Open University and a visiting researcher at ChatLab and also University College London.

Coming from a background in digital media and music composition, my interest is in designing technologies to enable novel face-to-face learning experiences. Particularly, my PhD focuses on how we can help large groups discuss by supporting collaboration through networks of shared tablet computers and public screens.


Rob Lee

I undertook my MSc dissertation in the ChaTLab, exploring how the computer game Portal scaffolds collaboration between players and the impact this had on their performance on a communication task testing perspective-taking. I also worked as a visiting researcher on the Comfy Birds project and supporting projects in local schools.

My current focus is on an enactive approach to interactions between people, and in particular how the structure of the interaction and relationship dynamic affects behaviour within the interaction itself.I hope to explore the potential of collaborative engagement and Theory of Mind as interventions to promote greater understanding and recognition between people. I am seeking funding for a Phd studentship.

Victoria Bonnett Portrait of Victoria Bonnett

I am a PhD student at the University of Sussex with a background in psychology.  I also work as a part-time research fellow at the ChatLab.  My research interests are the knowledge transfer and perseverance in children with reference to learning goal orientation.



Eric Harris

I worked with Nicola Yuill on the TERENCE project, focusing on the evaluation of an adaptive learning software system designed for picture of Eric Charlespoor comprehenders.

My work as research fellow over the past twelve years has been focused about the design and build of devices and installations, which support new forms of human computer interaction. I have explored the role of pervasive technologies within real world deployments, often using a participatory design approach to inform solutions.

I am particularly interested in how the design of new and emerging technologies supports older people’s needs and wants. I lead a project called which seeks to engage the older community towards participatory design of technology.

Chris Girvan

My main area of interest is how the use of technology can support collaboration within a classroom Picture of Chris Girvansetting for individuals with an ASC.

I did my first degree at Sussex and am now starting a Phd looking at policy and practice in special schools in relation to using technology to support children with autism.