Developmental Psychology research group

About us

The group is composed of researchers that are experts in developmental psychology and psychopathology. Using multidisciplinary approaches, the research expertise includes: infant social and conceptual development (core knowledge), cognitive, social and educational development (reading, language, numeracy) in typical and atypical populations, perception of facial appearance, bullying and victimisation, premature birth, psychotic experiences, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, online risk, domestic violence and intimate partner relationships.

The research group has published over 100 research articles in refereed journals, is currently home to 15 PhD students and has attracted substantial research funding from both the private and public sector. The group's research toolkit includes a wide range of equipment, a baby laboratory and using a range of methodologies including response times, eye movements and genetic analysis.

Current projects

  • Cognitive and social development from pre-natal and within the first two years of life, as well as premature infants and children.
  • Social-cognitive development in typical and atypical populations across the life-span.
  • The development of reading, numerical and language abilities in infants and preschoolers.
  • How individuals with autism perceive and interpret the world and the impact this has on daily life.
  • Cognitive development in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Williams syndrome and Down syndrome and associated disorders.
  • Theory of Mind and face processing in individuals with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder and in infants and preschoolers.
  • People's beliefs and experiences concerning facial appearance and disfigurement.
  • The causes of anxiety disorders and how fear-related cognitions and behaviours are acquired.
  • Bullying between peers and siblings and the relationship with psychopathology.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents.
  • Genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying psychotic experiences.
  • The dyadic mother-infant relationship and peri-natal depression: cognitive, social and emotional development within the first year of life.
  • Comparative cognition: the origins of knowledge in infants and animals.
  • Children as eyewitnesses within the legal system: Cognitive Interviewing as a forensic tool
  • Cyber-bullying, cyberpsychology and online risk and e-safety, and online criminal behaviour.
  • Problematic Internet Use (PIU) and psychopathology.
  • Eating disorders, attitudes, and stigma.
  • Mental health policy, transition policy and practice, youth mental health.
  • Offending behaviour, intimate partner violence, and psychopathology associated with violence perpetration.
  • The evaluation of 'healthy' relationship interventions.
  • The effects of marriage, cohabitation and parenthood on offending behaviour, and the antecedents of violence perpetration.


Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Rayane Chami
  • Dr Basel El-Khodary
  • Dr Natasa Ganea
  • Dr Eman Safi

Research fellows

  • Fatima El-Bosrati

PhD and postgraduate students

  • Aroosa Bano
  • Marcus Bull
  • Alaa Albawab
  • Katharine Clifford
  • Hauwa'U Hassan Danbaba
  • Hafisa Hassankutty
  • Anya Heneghan
  • Rashma Hirani
  • Hayley Hunt
  • Panagiota Kotopoulou
  • Ifigeneia Manitsa
  • Milani Pathmanathan
  • Sahar Saadani
  • Eman Shaltout
  • Mahitab Sherif
  • Ioannis Spyropoulos

Collaborators and affiliated research groups

Research is conducted through an extensive network of collaborating primary and secondary schools in or near Kingston upon Thames and with other universities, organisations, charities and hospitals in the UK and overseas. These include: University College London (UCL); Institute of Education; Durham University; Queen's University Belfast; University of Surrey; CBCD, Birkbeck, University of London; King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience; University of Oxford; Goldsmiths College, University of London; Newcastle University; University of Warwick; NHS forensic services; Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC hospital).

Current and previous grant awards

  • British Academy (£5,687). Visual perspective-taking in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (2011-2012). (EB).
  • Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF: NPRP12S-0302-190201) ($700,000). Predicting school readiness amongst preterm children in Qatar and the UK: Behavioural, psychological and health development (2020-2025) (MS).
  • Medical Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation (MRC-HMC: MRC-01-19-288) ($35,000). Studying EpiGene expression changes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) in the state of Qatar (2019-2023) (MS).

September 2019 to September 2022

  • Medical Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation (MRC-HMC: MRC-01-18-280) ($35,000). Studying risk factors and comorbid conditions in neurobehavioral disorders in the state of Qatar for neurobehavioral disorders in the state of Qatar (2019-2023) (MS).
  • Health Services Research Center (HSRC), Academic Health System (AHS) ($300,000). Teens and Young Adults (TYA) Taking Charge - Managing Cancer Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) Online Trial (2018-2022) (MS).
  • Conference and Workshop Sponsorship Program (CWSP: CWSP10-W-0318-16002) ($11,000). Cyberbullying, Bullying and School Safety: What we know and what we can do about it? (2016) (MS).

September 2017 to September 2021

  • Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF: NPRP9-061-5-006) ($719,991). School experience, educational aspirations and scholastic achievement (2017-2021) (MS).
  • Qatar National Research Foundation ($1000,000). Comparative study of cyber bullying in Qatar and the UK: risk factors, impact on health and solutions (2013-16). (MS).
  • Qatar National Research Foundation ($900,000). Premature Children in Qatar and the UK: Disability, Cognitive, Eating and Behaviour Development (2015-18). (MS).
  • Qatar National Research Foundation ($872,000). Continuous Trauma and PTSD in Qatar and in the Gaza Strip: Risk Factors and Causes, Consequences and Resiliency Factors (2015-18). (MS).
  • CResCID Research Grant Proposals 2020/21 (ML).
  • 1st Grants Scheme for Early Career Researchers, Kingston University 2020/2021 (ML).
  • Research Council Grant Ref: ES/S004467/1) (£55,477) Vulnerability, Online Lives and Mental Health: Towards a New Practice Model. Economic and Social Research Council and e-Nurture Network (AE).
  • Youth Works Consulting and in partnership with the Bullying Intervention Group (Suffolk 2015-2017 (£14,200); Nottinghamshire, 2015: £3000 and Dudley, 2016: £20,000). Children's and adolescents' use of internet and their online safety ( (AE).

Representative publications

Department of Psychology