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Who am I? What am I doing? I am Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. I am also a Visiting Professor at the University of Aarhus and I am visting the Interacting Minds Centre every yearI have been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Central European University in Budapest (February - June 2014).

Most of my time is now spent trying to write a book with Chris Frith on "What makes us social". We want to draw together what is known about evolution, development and pathology of social cognition. But procrastination made me start a blog about (not) writing this book

I am still as fascinated as ever with autism and with dyslexia. in 2014 I enjoyed making the BBC2 Horizon programme "Living with autism".

Here is a short bio:

Throughout my career I have been developing a neuro-cognitive approach to developmental disorders. My two favourite disorders are autism and dyslexia, because they are puzzling and endlessly fascinating and also because they promise to give us a glimpse of the hidden machinery of the mind. Using methods from experimental psychology I have been investigating a number of high-level cognitive processes to find out whether their failure might result in the core features of autism and dyslexia. My aim still is to discover the underlying cognitive causes of these disorders and to link them on the one hand to behaviour and on the other hand to the brain. A bigger aim is to make this research relevant to the education of people with developmental disorders and to contribute to a better quality of their everyday life by a better understanding of their problems.  

My past work was funded by the Medical Research Council. Some details of the research and publications can be seen via the links on the left. My outstanding colleagues andcollaborators  are continuing this research in many different and creative ways.

I have become interested in making neuroscience research relevant to education and learning throughout the life span. With Sarah-Jayne Blakemore I wrote a book "The learning brain, Lessons for education", published 2005. In 2010-11 I chaired a Working Group for the Royal Society in their series Brainwaves: Neuroscience, Society and Policy. We had some fruitful discussions across the divide of neuroscientists, teachers, and policy makers. We found that it is crucial that a common language is developed to bridge laboratory based experiments and classroom practice. A web based forum would be a good step in this direction. We have produced a report entitled "Neuroscience: implications for education and lifelong learning". Here is a printer friendly version, and a summary. You can also hear me give a ten minute 'rousing' speech given at the Learnus launch in July 2014.

Another of my more recent interests is the advancement of women in science. High-flying, hard-working women who juggle family and career can talk to each other  by being linked into a support network that I called science&shopping. I want to encourage women to share ideas and information that are inspiring and fun. With Kate JefferyPhilippa Talmud and Jennifer Rohn I founded UCLWomen.org. We meet over lunch every other month with a series of informal talks on the theme "Who am I, what am I doing, how did I get there".   

Contact details

UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK

t:+44 20 7679 1177

e: u.frith @ ucl.ac.uk

Hauke Hillebrandt,
7 Oct 2011, 04:59