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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


Claire Hughes completed her first degree and her PhD at the University of Cambridge (on the topic of executive function in autism, supervised by Dr James Russell and funded by the Medical Research Council). She then spent two years in Paris as a post-doctoral research fellow (funded by the Fyssen Foundation) where she worked at the Hopital Robert Debre and INSERM at the University of Paris V, investigating executive functions in parents and siblings of children with autism. Returning to the UK, Claire worked for 6 years (as an MRC research fellow and lecturer) at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre where she collaborated with Professor Judy Dunn in two parallel studies of 'hard to manage' preschoolers and typically developing preschool friends. Claire then moved to Cambridge and joined the Centre for Family Research. For the past decade, she has conducted a series of studies (funded by the Health Foundation and the ESRC) following up a socially diverse sample of children (recruited at age 2 and filmed at multiple time-points interacting with mothers, siblings, friends and unfamiliar peers) in order to examine the origins and consequences of individual differences in theory of mind and executive function for children's social relationships and adjustment to primary and secondary school. Dr Rosie Ensor was a key collaborator for the first 4 years of this longitudinal study; more recent waves have been conducted in collaboration with Dr Rory Devine, Ms Naomi White and Ms Sarah Foley. More recently, she has begun to conduct international studies of theory of mind and executive function in children from different cultures and to develop tools for teachers to identify children likely to benefit from extra support during the transition to school. These more recent studies have been funded by the ESRC, the Isaac Newton Trust, the Westminster Foundation and the Early Years Foundation Trust.  Key collaborators for these studies are Dr Rory Devine, Dr Michelle Ellefson, Dr Irenee Daly, Ms Nao Fujita, Ms Naomi White and Ms Sarah Foley.

Professor of Developmental Psychology
Professor Claire  Hughes

Contact Details

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(+44) (0)1223 334517