Dr Susan Atkinson, Senior Lecturer

Dr Susan Atkinson

Senior Lecturer

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.

Dr Susan Atkinson, Senior Lecturer

Selected Outputs

  • Atkinson SJ (2011) Story books: a catalyst for changing attitudes and motivations?. In: BPS Psychology of Education section conference, 18 November 2011 - 20 November 2011, Preston, UK.

  • Zammit M; Atkinson SJ (2011) Are parents attending babysign classes more mind-minded than parents attending comparable toddler activities?. In: British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference, 7 September 2011 - 9 September 2011, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.

  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley HE (2008) Working memory, reading development and dyslexia. In: The British Dyslexia Association International Conference, 27 March 2008 - 29 March 2008, Harrogate International Conference Centre, Harrogate, UK.

  • Atkinson SJ (2007) Children’s problem-solving strategies: an exploratory study. In: BPS Psychology of Education conference, Stoke-on-Trent.

  • Atkinson SJ (2007) Working memory and reading: synergies and contrasts. In: BPS Cognitive Psychology Section Annual Conferences, 20 August 2007 - 22 August 2007, University of Aberdeen.

  • Atkinson SJ (2006) The role of the working memory central executive system in the development of reading. In: BPS Psychology of Education Section Conference, Milton Keynes.

  • Atkinson SJ; Whitely HE (2004) Dyslexia, inhibition and working memory. In: Sixth BDA International Conference, 27 March 2004 - 30 March 2004, University of Warwick, UK.

  • Atkinson SJ; Whitely HE (2003) Inhibition and the central executive in the development of reading. In: BPS Cognitive Section Conference, 3 September 2003 - 5 September 2003, University of Reading.

  • Atkinson SJ; Whiteley H (2003) Inhibition, working memory and cognitive attainment in the early school years. In: BPS Psychology of Education Annual Conference, Manchester, UK.

  • 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 ed. 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 ed. Identification and Treatment of Alcohol Dependency. London: M&K Update Ltd, pp. 379-386.