Psychology

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  1. Autism Research Group (ARG)

Autism Research Group (ARG)

The Autism Research Group (ARG) comprises academic staff, postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students who share an interest in understanding the psychological and neurocognitive underpinnings of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our ambition is to promote a better understanding of autism across all ages and cognitive ability levels and to inform strategies for improving the quality of life of the individuals who are affected by this disorder.

Our current research efforts include:

  • The Task Support Hypothesis
  • Episodic Memory, Autobiographical Memory and Prospective Memory
  • Emotion-related processes
  • Early stages of visual perception
  • Social Cognition
  • Language Development.

In addition, we are developing new research in the following areas:

  • Time processing
  • Decision making
  • The Use of Eye-tracking technology.

What is the Autism Spectrum?

The Autism Spectrumcomprises a set of conditions(Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified) that are primarily characterised by abnormalities in the domains of reciprocal social interaction and communication as well as by a tendency to engage in repetitive and stereotyped forms of behaviour. The patterning and severity of these behavioural manifestations varies widely across individuals, but the attribution of a common set of atypical functions underlying these different manifestations is justified by similarities in the early developmental trajectories of individuals from all parts of the spectrum.


Although once thought to be rare, ASD is now known to affect approximately 1 per cent of the population and the incidence in males is around four times that of the incidence in females. Scientists are unanimous in the view that ASD has a biological cause, but as yet, the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of these conditions are poorly understood. At the cognitive and psychological level somewhat more progress has been made over the past decades and it is now clear that ASD is characterised by a complex constellation of typical and atypical functioning in a host of cognitive and psychological processes. Trying to unravel this complexity and thereby contribute to the building of a foundation for more biologically-based explanations of ASD, is the principal goal of the work in our group.

Members of the Group

Academic Staff

Honorary Visiting Professor

  • Professor John Gardiner

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

PhD Students

Psychology PhD students talk about their research into autism

In this video, two former doctoral students working with the Autism Research Group discuss the work that led to the recent successful completion of their PhDs. Esha Massand talks about researching memory in autism and Niki Daniel outlines her work into how people with autism recognise people's faces.