Cognition, Education and Language Research Group

Strong collaborative links, both nationally and internationally

A multiperspective research group working to advance our understanding of the factors, processes and mechanisms involved in language and education.

Our research focusses on three interacting thematic strands:

Our expertise


This strand focusses on the role of working memory and executive functions across normal development and in everyday decision-making and complex activities.

From an applied perspective, research focuses on:

  • Attentional control over threatening information in police officers
  • The role of top-down visual search strategies on the detection of emotionally relevant stimuli
  • Executive functions in children and adolescents with ADHD and a range of comorbid developmental disorders especially dyslexia
  • Theoretical understanding of the processes underlying visual cognition (e.g., face and object recognition) and how these may become impaired in developmental and acquired neurological disorders
  • The relationship between working memory and intelligence in children
  • How magnitude is represented and processed, and the extent that fundamental magnitude processing skills support the development of formal mathematics

Recent projects:

  • Investigating working memory involvement in multitasking among a set of errands within a virtual environment
  • Longitudinal project examining the impact of the approximate number system (ANS) on the development of early number skills
  • Autonomic nervous system activity underlying listening effort
  • The relationship between the achievement motive and effort mobilization
  • The link between exaggerated cardiovascular responses and effort mobilization in active coping tasks


This strand investigates the role of individual differences in both cognitive and social factors that may impact on students’ educational attainment.

Ongoing research focuses on the role of personality variables, test anxiety, self-efficacy and emotional intelligence on academic performance. These constructs have been found to support learning, complement ability and enhance achievement. In terms of the role of cognition in academic ability, we investigate the extent that working memory and other cognitive processes support the development of academic skills.

Recent projects:

  • How working memory supports the development of different mathematical skills and to what extent such cognitive skills may underpin gender differences in writing
  • Whether media-multitasking behaviour or multitasking preference may be related to academic performance
  • Developing and validating a measure of Assessment Self-efficacy for university students (curriculum enhancement project)
  • Mentoring scheme for Level 4 students to support transition (curriculum enhancement project)
  • Factors influencing the development of early numeracy (funded by the Nuffield Foundation)
  • Cognitive and non-cognitive predictors of academic achievement
  • Cognitive restructuring in second language learners in a higher education context


This strand is focussed on both normal and disordered language processing. Our research also encompasses normal and disordered development of literacy, with a particular focus on disorders of spelling (dysgraphia) and reading (dyslexia). This involves the study of how children learn to read and spell (e.g., using phonics) and what happens when things go wrong or develop more slowly. It has both an educational and a cognitive developmental focus.

We are also interested in the relationship between language, thought and culture. We study bilingual cognition in typical populations by investigating how speaking another language can impact on our perception of colour, facial expressions and memories for visual events. In some of our experiments, we temporarily ‘block’ how memories are formed by asking our participants to engage in a verbal interference task. More recently, we have explored the role of British Sign Language in communicating human emotions expressed through music.

Recent projects:

  • The role of second language proficiency on the perception of colour
  • How the perception of happy facial expressions varies with language and culture
  • How language and testing context influences our memory for visual events


We have strong collaborative links, both nationally and internationally, with other universities, charities and industrial partners.

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Bangor University
  • University of Arizona
  • MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit             
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • University of Milano-Bicocca
  • University of La Sapienza
  • University of Northumbria
  • University of Urbino
  • University of West London
  • University of Alberta
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Padova
  • Swansea University
  • The University of Manchester
  • Edge Hill University
  • University of Geneva
  • Leiden University
  • Jagiellonian University


Meet the researchers within this group:

PhD students

Meet the PhD students within this research area.

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2 papers found

  • Journal article

    Combining Multiple Psychophysiological Measures of Listening Effort: Challenges and Recommendations

    Richter M, Buhiyan T, Bramslow L, Innes Brown H, Fiedler L, Hadley LV, Naylor G, Saunders GH, Wendt D, Whitmer W and Zekveld AA and Kramer SE

    Publish date: 28/03/2023

  • Journal article

    Lighting color temperature impacts effort-related cardiovascular response to an auditory short-term memory task

    Lasauskaite R and Richter M and Cajochen C

    Publish date: 15/02/2023

Showing 2 papers