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Developmental Science

Researchers in the Developmental Science (DS) investigate the developmental origins of perceptual, cognitive, and social abilities. Our research uses cutting-edge methods including immersive virtual reality, motion capture, eye-tracking, thermal imaging, and 4D ultrasound imaging, as well as more standard perceptual and cognitive measures. Our work is published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals and featured in the international press.

Our research ranges from the basic to the applied, and from the earliest stages of life to adolescence. We study both typical development and atypical development (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Williams syndrome). Members of the group also run and participate in Durham University’s cross-disciplinary Centre for Developmental Disorders. Through our MSc programmes, we have a large cohort of students who study aspects of Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology, as well as Developmental aspects of Cognitive Neuroscience.

We conduct our research here in our child-friendly laboratories, as well as in local schools and nurseries. We are always looking for volunteer families to take part in our studies – this can be a fun trip taking as little as 30 minutes of your time. Our studies are presented as fun games for children. You can find out more and volunteer to take part at the bottom of this page.



  • Atypical social and cognitive development
  • Development of Empathy
  • Development of skilled movement
  • Development of spatial memory
  • Fetal development
  • Language development and hearing
  • Sensory differences and learning in the Classroom
  • Sensory Learning
  • Social Attention in Typical Development and Developmental Disorders
  • The developing bodily self




Did you know that you can easily volunteer your child(ren) to participate in some of our research?

We register you on our database and contact you when a suitable study is running. You are under no obligation to take part, and if you would like to then we would arrange a short visit with you - for example during school holidays, weekends, or after school.

To register your child as a volunteer for our research, please email This personal information is held securely by Durham University according to UK Data Protection legislation, and you may choose to withdraw it at any time. For any queries, please call +44 (0)191 334 3270 or email Thank you for your help!


Research Grants

More info to follow