In Cognitive and Social Development, research includes projects on language, social cognition, memory and perceptual processing in children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and on the design of assistive information technology to improve social and communication skills. Other major projects in this area are on imitation and prosociality in young children, considered in an evolutionary context, and on the cognitive development of childhood numeracy and its implications for education.
A second research strength is in Cognitive Ageing , where epidemiological, individual differences, neuropsychological and experimental approaches are used in projects on both healthy ageing and dementia. These cover the roles of lifestyle and behavioural factors such as physical activity, occupation and diet in determining the outcomes of cognitive ageing; cognitive processes in dementia and their implications for effective care; and changes with age in motor control and visual search.
The Attention, Perception and Action theme includes research on divided attention, on the perception of textured surfaces, and on perceptual-motor control and learning. Basic research in each of these area supports applied work on the safe design of vehicle and road technology, on the design of databases of visual textures, and on recovery of motor function after neural damage.
Psychological Health and Wellbeing is the fourth theme. It includes research on all areas of coaching psychology, on workplace health and education, inclusivity in health care, coaching for organisational roles, and the consequences of parental bereavement for psychological and physical health. Knowledge exchange with research users ranging from the offshore energy industry through the NHS to parental support networks is a particular focus of research in these areas.