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Staff Profile

Dr Paige Davis

Senior Lecturer; Year 2 Tutor

MSc Durham University (Developmental Psychopathology)

PhD Durham University ( Developmental Psychology)


My area of expertise is in Developmental Psychopathology and Developmental Psychology. I teach on the following modules:

1PY405 Foundations of Human Development
3PY347 Psychology in Education
3PY340 Dissertation
3PY420 Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Applications
MPY100 Psychological Research Methods
MPY102 Child Development



I am a Vygotskian Developmental Psychologist. My main research interest is imagination, specifically imaginary companions (ICs). My past research on this topic covers differences found between children with and without ICs and their self-knowledge, private speech, and friend descriptions. I have just published a paper reporting findings that children with autism spectrum disorder are creating ICs. Currently I am looking at ICs in adults in terms of hallucination like experiences, and how having an IC in childhood may relate to hallucination experiences.

I am interested in supervising PhD and MRes students who have interests relating to my research.

Professional Activities

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

I am the external examiner for the MSc in Developmental Psychology programme at Sheffield Hallam University. 

I have reviewed for International Journal of Psychology, Social Development, Cognitive Development, & Infant and Child Development. 

Invited speaker research engagement seminar series at Leeds Trinity University (2018). 

Helped to found The International School of Egypt, an elementary school based in Cairo, Egypt.

Publications and Conferences

Book Chapter

Davis, P. E. (Accepted). Imaginary Companions: Self-Initiated play and relations to mental state understanding. In A. Abrahim (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.


Davis, P.E.,Webster, L. A., Fernyhough, C., Ralston, K., Kola-Plamer, S., Stain, H. (2019). Adult report of childhood imaginary companions and adversity relates to concurrent prodromal psychosis symptoms. Psychiatry Research, 271,150-152. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.11.046

Davis, P.E., Simon, H., Robins, D., & Meins, E. (2018) The imaginary companions of children with autism.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803-018-3540-y

Davis, P. Haley, S. Meins, E. Robins, D.L. (2018) Imaginary Companions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  

Davis, P. E., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2014). Children with imaginary companions focus on mental characteristics when describing their real-life friends. Journal of Infant and Child Development, 23(3), 622-633. doi: 10.1002/icd.1869

Davis, P. E., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2013). Individual differences in children’s private speech: The role of imaginary companions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 561-571. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.06.10

Davis, P. E., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2011). Self-knowledge in childhood: Relations with children’s imaginary companions and understanding of mind. British Journal of Developmental Psychology,29, 680-686.doi: 10.1111/j.2044 835X.2011.02038.x

Internet & Pop Culture Articles

  1. I have the 3d highest readership of all of the articles published in the 2018-year (60,000 reads)The Conversation: How Imaginary Friends Could Boost Children’s Development.
  2. I was asked to follow up on the popular article in The Conversation and responded with this article which was subsequently published in the i newspaper: How Imaginary Friends from our Childhood Can Continue to Affect us as Adults.
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