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Dr Maria Zammit

About Dr Maria Zammit

After completing her PhD, at the University of Reading in 2005, Maria obtained lectureships at University of Bradford (2005-2006) and Manchester Metropolitan University (2006-2009) before joining our University in 2009.

In general, Maria is interested in all aspects of development, particularly the development of preschool children. Following her undergraduate degree in Psychology at University of Portsmouth, in 2005 Maria completed a PhD at the University of Reading, supervised by Dr Graham Schafer, titled 'Maternal gesture patterns and linguistic development in infants'.

Maria then went on to her first lectureship at the University of Bradford, where she taught Developmental Psychology to undergraduate psychology and social work students until 2006.

Maria then moved to another lectureship at Manchester Metropolitan University, again teaching developmental psychology to undergraduate psychology students and speech and language students.

Maria left Manchester Metropolitan to join our University in 2009. She continues to teach developmental psychology to undergraduate psychology and speech and language therapy students, which dovetails her interests in developmental psychology and language development.

Within these roles, alongside her teaching, she has continued to maintain and develop research active research collaborations.

Current Teaching

Module leader for (including teaching on these modules):

Level four:

  • Thinking and learning psychologically
  • Developmental psychology 1
  • Explorations in developmental psychology 1
  • Level five: Developmental psychology 2
  • Level six: Advanced developmental psychology
  • Master: Mastering developmental psychology

Teaching on the following modules:

  • Level six: Negotiated learning contract
  • Final year project supervision
  • Speech therapy input: Lifespan human development

Research Interests

Maria's research interests include the nature and role of naturalistic maternal gesture in linguistic development, and the development of the development of the gesture-speech system. Maria has worked on a number of projects in these areas, from identifying the style of gestures used in mother-child communication (in collaboration with Dr Kim Bard, Dr Maggie Linnell & Dr Mike Fluck) to investigating the impact of maternal gesture on children's language development (in collaboration with Dr Graham Schafer).

While at Bradford University Maria became involved in a project considering educational transitions and identity, collaborating with Dr Jane Tobbell, Dr Vicki O'Donnell and Dr Rebecca Lawtham.

Maria has also worked on two projects considering the social, emotional and communicative effects of using babysign with hearing infants, collaborating with Dr Liz Kirk & Prof Karen Pine. This project closely relates to ongoing research she is conducting with Dr Susan Atkinson considering the relationship between maternal mind-mindedness and parent-child activity selection.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (39)

Chapters (1)

  • ZAMMIT M; SCHAFER G (2011) The Sensitivity of maternal gesture to interlocutor and context. In: ISHINO M; ASHLEY R Integrating Gestures: The interdisciplinary nature of gesture. Chicago: John Benjamin, pp. 137-152.

Conference contributions (11)

  • Zammit ML (2011) Interviewing mothers attending Babysign classes with their toddlers. Motivation, expectations and experience Preston, UK 18/11/2011.
  • Zammit ML; Atkinson S (2011) Is maternal mind-mindedness a motivation for choice of baby and toddler activities? Preston, UK 18/11/2011.
  • Zammit M; Atkinson SJ (2011) Are parents attending babysign classes more mind-minded than parents attending comparable toddler activities? Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne 07/09/2011.
  • O'Neill M; Lawthom R; O'Donnell VL; Tobbell J (2007) Transition to Postgraduate Study: Practice, Policy and Experience University of Stirling 22/06/2007.
  • O'Neill ML (2007) The relation between maternal points and infant vocabulary growth Illinois, USA 18/06/2007.
  • O'Neill ML; Schafer G (2005) The importance of maternal speech and gesture during labelling contexts to subsequent word learning Atlanta, Georgia, USA 07/04/2005.
  • O'Neill ML (2005) Maternal Gesture Patterns and Linguistic Development in Infants University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK. .
  • O'Neill ML; Schafer G (2005) Maternal Gesture Patterns and Linguistic Development in Infants Edinburgh, UK .
  • O'Neill ML; Schafer G (2004) Maternal adjustment of speech and gesture during labelling contexts London, UK .
  • O'Neill ML (2003) Investigating the verbal and gestural production of English under threes using a British version of the MacArthur CDI Tampa, Florida, USA .
  • O'Neill ML (2003) Maternal Modification in Gesture as a Function of Partner and Context Tampa, Florida, USA .

Conference proceedings (11)

Reports (1)

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