Developmental Psychology Research

Developmental Psychology research at York St John spans development from early childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood. Research covers a range of topics including the development of children’s language, literacy and numeracy skills, children’s problem solving and innovation, and body image and health behaviour.

Dr Beth Bell

Using a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches, Beth's research examines the role of digital media and technology in the lives of young people. More specifically, she examines how media and technology are involved in the transmission of dominant appearance and body-related messages and the impact of such messages on self-perception, body image, physical health and mental health. Currently, Beth is co-investigator on two projects aimed at understanding the role of digital technologies in young people’s mental health that were funded by NIHR-ESPRC New Minds feasibility funding. She also leads Body Image in the Digital Age, an education initiative aimed at promoting digital literacy and positive body image among young people. Read more here.

Dr Nicola Cutting

Nicola’s research focuses on children’s cognitive development. Children are brilliant at learning how to do things by watching other people; in contrast children find it challenging to solve problems for themselves. Nicola’s research predominantly concentrates on children’s difficulties innovating simple tools needed to solve physical problems. Nicola is interested in why children find innovation so hard and how we can help guide children to find their own solutions rather than simply giving them the answers.

To see footage of Nicola’s research paradigms please visit the CogdevBirmingham YouTube Channel.

Dr Lorna Hamilton

Lorna’s expertise is in children’s cognitive development, and particularly the development of language, literacy and numeracy skills, both in typically developing children and children with developmental disorders (e.g. dyslexia, autism). She is interested in the impact of contextual factors (e.g. socio-economic status; home learning environments) on children’s cognitive development.

More information on Lorna's research:

Welcome language and Reading project

Born in Bradford project

Current projects you can take part in at York St John University

Young Mindreaders



As well as undergraduate study in Developmental Psychology, there is also opportunity for postgraduate study on the Psychology of Child and Adolescent Development MSc, completing an MSc by research, and completing a PhD.


Level 1:

  • Developmental Psychology 1

Level 2:

  • Developmental Psychology 2

Level 3 (optional modules):

  • Adolescent Development & Behaviour
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Psychology in Education


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