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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

Chapters (3)

  • ATKINSON SJ (2012) Couvade syndrome. In: ATKINSON SJ Perinatal Mental Health: A clinical guide. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 227-236.
  • ATKINSON SJ (2012) Partner coping in pregnancy. In: ATKINSON SJ 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: ATKINSON S Identification and Treatment of Alcohol Dependency. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 379-386.

Conference contributions (9)

  • Atkinson SJ (2011) Story books: a catalyst for changing attitudes and motivations? Preston, UK 20111118. : .
  • Zammit M; Atkinson SJ (2011) Are parents attending babysign classes more mind-minded than parents attending comparable toddler activities? Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne 20110907. : .
  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley HE (2008) Working memory, reading development and dyslexia Harrogate International Conference Centre, Harrogate, UK 20080327. : .
  • 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 20070820. : .
  • 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 20040327. : .
  • Atkinson SJ; Whitely HE (2003) Inhibition and the central executive in the development of reading University of Reading 20030903. : .
  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley H (2003) Inhibition, working memory and cognitive attainment in the early school years Manchester, UK . : .
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