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Staff Profile

Dr Lorna Hamilton

Associate Professor and Associate Head of School: Psychology

YSJ lecturer

I completed a PhD in Psychology at the University of York as part of the Wellcome Language and Reading Project, a prospective longitudinal study of children with language and reading difficulties. I joined York St John University as a lecturer in 2012; in my current role as Associate Head, I lead on strategic development in Psychology. I also hold a cross-school role as lead for student employability. I am a member of the Cognitive Psychology research group.

Qualifications

PhD Psychology, University of York: The role of the home literacy environment in the early literacy development of children at family risk of dyslexia. 

PGDip (Psychology conversion), Open University

MPhil, University of Cambridge

BA (Hons) University of Cambridge

Teaching

I teach on the following modules: 

  • Infant and Child Development
  • Assessment of Individual Differences
  • Investigating Cognition
  • Psychological Research Methods
  • Child Development 

Research

My main area of research is the development of language and reading skills in children and young people. I am interested in how the language that children hear and read affects their learning, both in typical development and in neurodevelopmental conditions such as dyslexia and autism. 

Current projects: 

  • The role of socio-economic status and language experience in complex language skills (in collaboration with Jelena Mirkovic). In these studies we investigate the mechanism by which socio-economic status influences how quickly and efficiently we process complex language. We are exploring how socio-economic status influences the type and the amount of complex language we are exposed to, and then how that exposure influences how easily we understand complex sentences, as well as the type of sentences we are likely to produce. 
  • Young Mind Readers (in collaboration with Nicola Cutting). In this project, we are exploring how exposure to different types of narrative might relate to the development of theory of mind (i.e., the ability to infer and reason about about mental states) and empathy in children and young people.
  • Experiences of mainstream education for young people on the autism spectrum (with Sue Mesa). In this longitudinal study, we work with autistic young people, their parents and teachers, to understand the facilitators and barriers to inclusion through the early years of secondary school.

Current students: 

Jessica Brown 

Alex Bond 

Professional Activities

I am a chartered psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I regularly review for journals in my field, including Child Development, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Scientific Studies of Reading and Journal of Research in Reading. I have reviewed grant applications for funding agencies including the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong and acted as external examiner for several doctoral theses.

I co-facilitate the Autism Community of Practice at York St John University, which brings together people on the autism spectrum, families and professionals for knowledge exchange and collaboration.

Publications

Peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters 

Hamilton, L.G., & Hayiou-Thomas, M.E. (forthcoming, 2022). Foundations of literacy. In M.J. Snowling, C. Hulme, & K. Nation (Eds.) The science of reading: A handbook (2nd edn.). Wiley.

Hamilton, L.G., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., & Snowling, M.J. (in press). Shared storybook reading with children at family risk of dyslexia. Journal of Research in Reading.

Mesa, S., & Hamilton, L.G. (in press). “We’re different, that’s a fact, but they treat us like we’re different-er”: Understandings of autism and adolescent identity development. Advances in Autism.

Hamilton, L.G., O’Halloran, I., & Cutting, N. (2020). Individual differences in narrative production in late childhood: Associations with age and fiction reading experience. First Language, 41(2), 179-199.

Hamilton, L.G. (2017) Developmental dyslexia. In B. Hopkins, E. Geangu, & Linkenauger, S. (Eds.), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development (2nd edn.).  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Puglisi, M.L., Hulme, C., Hamilton, L.G., & Snowling, M.J. (2017). The home literacy environment is a correlate, but perhaps not a cause, of variations in children’s language and literacy development. Scientific Studies of Reading, 21(6), 498-514.

Dilnot, J., Hamilton, L.G., Maughan, B., & Snowling, M.J. (2017). Child and environmental factors predicting readiness for learning in children at high risk of dyslexia. Development & Psychopathology, 29(1), 235-244.

Hamilton, L.G., Mesa, S., Hayward, E., Price, R., & Bright, G. (2017). “There’s a lot of places I’d like to go and things I’d like to do”: The daily living experiences of adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities during a time of personalised social care reform in the UK. Disability & Society, 32(3), 287-307.

Hamilton, L.G., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M.J. (2016). The home literacy environment as a predictor of the early literacy development of children at family-risk of dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading, 20(5), 401-419.

Hamilton, L.G. (2014). Early exposure to storybooks in the home: Validation of title/author checklist measures in a sample of children at elevated risk of reading difficulty.  Assessment & Development Matters, 6(1), 31-34. 

Gibson, S., & Hamilton, L.G. (2013). Knowledge, autonomy and maturity: Developmental and educational concerns as rhetorical resources in adolescents’ discussions regarding the age of electoral majority in England. Journal of Youth Studies, 16(1), 34-53.

Gibson, S., & Hamilton, L.G. (2011). The rhetorical construction of polity membership: Identity, culture and citizenship in young people's discussions of immigration in northern England. Community & Applied Social Psychology, 21(3), 228-242. 

Selected conference presentations 

Hamilton, L.G., & Charura, D. (2021). Decolonising Psychology: Beyond the WEIRD. Paper presented at Talking about Teaching for Social Justice, York St John University.

Hamilton, L.G., Olamaie, M., & Cutting, N. (2021). Longitudinal associations between fiction reading experience and theory of mind in late childhood: A Bayesian analysis. Paper presented at Experimental Psychology Society, July meeting.

Mesa, S., & Hamilton, L.G. (2021). “We’re different, that’s a fact, but they treat us like we’re different-er”: Multi-informant perspectives on identity development in autistic adolescents. Paper presented at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists annual conference.

Hamilton, L.G. & Cutting, N. (2019). Minding the text: Associations between experience of reading fiction, mentalising and reading comprehension in 9- to 11-year-old children. Paper presented at the Child Language Symposium, Sheffield UK.

Hamilton, L.G. & Mesa, S. (2019). The transitions project: Exploring the journey from Year 6 to Year 9 for young people on the autism spectrum in mainstream education. Paper presented at York Celebrates Autism.

Hamilton, L.G. & Cutting, N. (2018). Fiction reading experience predicts narrative production skills in 9- to 12-year-old children. Paper presented at the BPS Developmental Section conference, Liverpool UK.  

Hamilton, L.G. & Mesa, S. (2018). The York Autism Community of Practice. Symposium paper presented at BPS Annual Conference, Nottingham UK. 

Hamilton, L.G., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M.J. (2014).  The home literacy environment of children at family risk of dyslexia: Direct and indirect pathways to reading.  Symposium presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Santa Fe, NM, USA. 

Hamilton, L.G., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M.J. (2014).  The home literacy environment of children at family risk of dyslexia: Direct and indirect pathways to reading.  Symposium presentation at 9th International Conference of the British Dyslexia Association, Guildford UK.  

Hamilton, L.G., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M.J. (2013).  The role of the home literacy environment in the early literacy development of children at family-risk of dyslexia.  Oral paper presented at BPS CogDev conference, Reading UK. 

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