School of Psychology

Development of Cognition and Communication

This group covers research into cognitive development, including word learning and categorisation, perceptual development and colour categorisation, as well as the evolution and development of communication, investigating gestural communication in primates and the development of social play and social interaction in typical and atypical development, e.g. autism.

Development of Cognition and Communication comprises of four research groups. Three of these groups - perceptual and cognitive development, language acquisition and categorisation, and development of collaborative interaction - form the Child Development Group.


Perceptual and cognitive development

  • How do infants see colour?
  • How do catagories form?
Faculty: Anna Franklin. Research Staff: Gemma Catchpole, Alice Skelton, Christoph Witzel

Lab: Sussex Baby Lab

Communication and joint attention in primates

  • How do apes and humans manipulate the attention of their social partners?
  • How flexible are the visual and vocal signals of chimpanzees? 
Faculty: Dave Leavens

Language acquisition and categorisation

  • How do toddlers learn what new words mean?
  • How do children learn that objects belong to categories (clothes, cars, etc)? 
Faculty: Jessica Horst

WORD lab

Development of collaborative interaction

  • How do interactions between peers support learning? 
  • How can technology be used creatively and innovatively to support social-cognitive development, in typical development, and in children with autism?
Faculty: Nicola Yuill


*Image courtesy of Sophie Sheinwald photography