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Dr Susan Atkinson


About Dr Susan Atkinson

Dr Atkinson is a psychologist with interests in cognitive and developmental psychology. Her research interests are factors affecting academic attainment through the school years and in students in HE.

Dr Atkinson's areas of interest are cognitive developmental psychology; working memory development; working memory and reading; disorders in working memory and reading development, and attentional difficulties. Her PhD was a longitudinal study which examined the role of the working memory central executive system in the development of reading. She is currently engaged in three projects:

  • "The development of parental mind-mindedness and participation in toddler activity groups" with Dr Maria Zammit.
  • Working with a local primary school to set up a longitudinal research project investigating the effects of music (singing) instruction on cognitive performance, academic attainment and motivation.
  • The effects of attentional differences and locus of control on student academic performance and retention in HE. This is a joint project with colleagues at Teesside University.

Dr Atkinson is the course leader for the MSc Psychology (Conversion Award) and is currently supervising two students on the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD).

Current Teaching

Dr Atkinson is the course leader for the MSc Psychology (Conversion Award). She teaches on cognitive, developmental an educational psychology modules throughout the undergraduate and MSc curriculum. She also supervises project students for both undergraduate and MSc courses.

Research Interests

The research project investigating attentional differences in students in HE, their relationship to locus of control, and academic performance aims to develop strategies and interventions to promote the retention of students and their successful progression through their courses.

Dr Atkinson is working with a local primary school, interviewing pupils, staff and parents, and developing a longitudinal study of academic performance. This research will contribute to the evidence base on the value of creative subjects in the school curriculum both for their own unique contribution to child development, and for the effect on cognitive development, academic performance, motivation and social and emotional development.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (1)

Chapters (4)

  • ATKINSON SJ; MARTIN CR; WHITELEY HE (2013) Early detection of risk of reading difficulties using a working memory assessment battery. In: . : , pp. .
  • ATKINSON SJ (2012) Couvade syndrome. In: Perinatal Mental Health: A clinical guide. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 227-236.
  • ATKINSON SJ (2012) Partner coping in pregnancy. In: Martin CR Perinatal Mental Health: A clinical guide. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 209-218.
  • ATKINSON S (2008) Child cognitive development and alcohol consumption between the ages of 8 and 12. In: Martin CR Identification and Treatment of Alcohol Dependency. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 379-386.

Conference contributions (15)

  • Atkinson SJ (2011) Story books: a catalyst for changing attitudes and motivations? 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.
  • ATKINSON SJ; BURGESS J (2010) Musical instruction, background music and children's visuo-spatial memory Milton Keynes 12/11/2010. Milton Keynes:
  • Atkinson SJ; Burgess J (2010) Musical instruction, background music and children's visuo-spatial memory Milton Keynes .
  • Atkinson SJ (2009) Student experiences of transition from theoretical to applied learning in developmental psychology Preston, UK 30/10/2009.
  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley HE (2008) Working memory, reading development and dyslexia Harrogate International Conference Centre, Harrogate, UK 27/03/2008.
  • Atkinson SJ; Robinson S (2008) Task achievement in children: influence of instructional type and gender Milton Keynes .
  • Atkinson SJ (2007) Children's problem-solving strategies: an exploratory study Stoke-on-Trent .
  • Atkinson SJ (2007) Working memory and reading: synergies and contrasts University of Aberdeen 20/08/2007.
  • Atkinson SJ (2006) The role of the working memory central executive system in the development of reading Milton Keynes .
  • Atkinson SJ; Whitely HE (2004) Dyslexia, inhibition and working memory University of Warwick, UK 27/03/2004.
  • Atkinson SJ; Whitely HE (2003) Inhibition and the central executive in the development of reading University of Reading 03/09/2003.
  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley HE (2003) The role of working memory central executive system in the development of reading Bournemouth International Centre 13/03/2003. http://www.bps.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/ceproceedings11_2aug2003.pdf
  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley H (2003) Inhibition, working memory and cognitive attainment in the early school years Manchester, UK .

Conference proceedings (2)

  • ATKINSON S (2009) Student experiences of transition from theoretical to applied learning in developmental psychology. In: British Psychological Society Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference Preston 30/10/2009 00:00:00. Preston: , pp. .
  • ATKINSON S; ROBINSON S (2008) Task achievement in children: influence of instructional type and gender. In: BPS Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference Milton Keynes 31/10/2008 00:00:00. Milton Keynes: , pp. .
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