What the researchers are talking about: A report on the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) conference 2023

The field of educational neuroscience has several key conferences where the latest findings are disseminated and discussed. One of those is the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). EARLI is an international scientific community which supports research in learning and instruction.

In August 2023, EARLI held their 20th Biennial Conference at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Macedonia. In this blog, CEN member Lucy Palmer reports back on the main themes of the conference and some of the exciting debates, including a look to the future of education


What was EARLI about this year?

This year, the conference theme was “Education as a Hope in Uncertain Times”. Over the last couple of years, rapidly changing technological advancements, fluctuating labour markets, population mobility, political instability and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in unprecedented uncertainty for our societies. Consequently, it is important that education can adapt to support individuals facing these challenges and drive positive change through evidence based research.

The event was hosted in the vibrant, multicultural and historical metropolis of Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece. Stroll along the seafront and you will see the famous umbrellas, created by Greek sculptor Giorgios Zongolopoulos in 1997 when Thessaloniki was the European Capital of Culture. Much like its host city, the EARLI 2023 conference was captivating and diverse, with over 2500 attendees from 60 countries, including 1054 academic institutions – the largest number of registrants the conference has seen to date.

With over 550 sessions to choose from over the four day conference, EARLI 2023 provided a plethora of thought-provoking symposia, in-depth discussions, informative talks and posters covering a large variety of research areas. Topics included assessment and evaluation, conceptual change, higher education, instructional design, motivation and emotion, special educational needs and learning and teaching in culturally diverse settings. Naturally, we were drawn to the talks relating to Educational Neuroscience!


How Learning and Education Shape the Brain

The Neuroscience and Education symposium, “How learning and education shape the brain” explored the bi-directional process of how brain processes influence learning and vice versa. This symposium presented both cross sectional and longitudinal research exploring the mechanisms of brain changes as a result of learning, using a multitude of methods (e.g. electroencephalography, magnetic resonance imaging, genetic analysis) and learning topics (e.g. reading, science, maths, executive function) in both typical and atypical populations, as well as populations from the Global South.

Although we still have a long way to go in ensuring education research is generalisable and fully representative, it is encouraging to see an increase in awareness amongst researchers, educators and policymakers regarding the importance of conducting research in under-represented populations; a topic which arose throughout the conference.

The presentations in the Neuroscience and Education symposium demonstrated the pros and cons of using neuroimaging methods to better understand mechanisms of educational interventions.

For example, Professor Tzipi Horowitz (Technion- Israel Institute of Technology) shared her findings from an 8-week executive-function-based reading programme, which resulted in improved reading fluency and greater executive function skills in 8-12 year old children with dyslexia. Additionally, electroencephalography (EEG) data showed increased synchronization of neural circuits supporting visual and auditory modalities, as a result of the engagement of executive functions from the intervention. These findings support the ‘asynchrony’ theory between visual and auditory modalities in dyslexia.

On a similar note, Alexander Enge (Max Plank Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences) showed how brain responses to written words and spoken words change over time in individual children in rural parts of Northern India, in response to a literacy intervention. Although the work presented was preliminary, this lab showed how bi-monthly fMRI scans can be carried out in hard to reach populations, with the goal of understanding the mechanisms of the literacy intervention.


We presented our promising findings from the Stop & Think intervention developed in the Centre for Educational Neuroscience (www.unlocke.org), as well as some of our follow-up working seeking to tease apart the mechanisms underpinning the successful intervention. At times, this has proven challenging because the tools are not best suited to our target population of 7-10 year olds. Here, we come up against the difficulties of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to explore mechanisms of inhibitory control in these children – and how these skills can be trained – including the limitations of small sample sizes, drop out and methodological constraints such as scanner resolution and movement sensitivity.

Professor Gregoire Borst (Paris Cité University) presented a solution to some of these problems in the form of  multi-modal methods. This involves combining several different techniques, such as genetic, neuroimaging and behavioural methods, to understanding the mechanisms of inhibitory control training in 10-year-old children. Prof. Borst’s lab found that differences between children in how receptive they were to the inhibitory control training were linked to a combination of genetic, cognitive and anatomical factors.

Overall, this symposium presented a variety of studies on how the brain is influenced by educational interventions, while also demonstrating some of the challenges and solutions within this area of research.

There were also many interesting keynotes throughout the conference. For example, the renowned academic Professor Daniel Ansari (University of Western Ontario) presented his lab’s exceptional work on the developmental trajectory of mathematical skills using both behavioural and neuroimaging methods. Daniel recently presented some of his work in the CEN seminar series: see his talk on the CEN YouTube channel here.

If you are interested in learning more about the research presented at the conference, check out the EARLI website for abstracts and further information  (www.earli.org/events/earli2023).

The future of education panel discussion

As you’ve been reading this blog, I know the excitement has been building, and here it is at last: what did the EARLI conference have to say about the future of education?

Experts in research, policy and education reflected on the challenges for education in the digital era, how to promote education for human flourishing, and how to communicate evidence-based research. Four thought provoking themes leapt to the fore. Here they are (if you agree – or disagree – contribute your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!)

  1. Which skills will be needed in the next 30 years and therefore need to be taught in educational settings? For example, will the skill of handwriting persist? With today’s technology, we can dictate to text, send a message electronically and have it read back to us by our devices. Which other skills will remain and which will become obsolete and how should we design the curriculum to adapt to these changes? Or will nostalgia for how education has always been hold us back from change?
  2. Are we currently teaching science in the right way? For instance, in formal education, we predominantly teach science as a series of facts. However, science is less about fact learning and more to do with creating hypotheses, asking questions, testing theories and critically analysing evidence. With the recent rise in fake news and unreliable knowledge exacerbated by social media, should we adapt our curriculum to improve the way we teach science and analyse information?
  3. Despite the overwhelming majority of education research being conducted in wealthy, western and well-educated populations, there is a small increase in research being conducted in under-represented populations, but how can we improve the inclusivity of our research and support education for individuals in contexts of severe poverty and without basic needs? In the panel discussion, the issue of rapidly changing political priorities was raised. For example, many programmes that are run to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds often rely on funding from government, but the funding can change depending on the political focus at the time. So how can we use research to create better outcomes for these children? There is no easy or quick solution to this problem, but by bringing people together to discuss these issues, we can raise awareness and influence funding and policymakers’ decisions to support these individuals.
  4. The final theme related to teacher education. When considering the future of education, we often think of how the curriculum can be adapted to support learners, but another major change involves how to best train teachers. What responsibility should universities take to prepare teachers for the future of education? What should be included in the teacher training and CPD curriculum?

In sum, the conference was an exciting hub of new research, discussions and debates about the past, present and future of education research. To find out more, check out the programme, or to sign up as a member click here!




Update on MetaSENse: Evidence of increasing evaluation of ‘what works’ for students with SEND


In this article, Professor Jo van Herwegen and her team give an update on the latest findings from the MetaSENse project which is revisiting the evidence base for effective interventions for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Background of the wider MetaSENse project

The number of pupils identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) continues to rise (DfE, 2021). Educational outcomes for those with SEND are often lower compared to those without SEND and this gap has become larger since 2020. This is likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Tuckett et al., 2022) and highlights the disparities for this population. Thus, it is important for parents, educators, specialist professionals and policymakers to understand the best evidence-based practice to raise educational outcomes in pupils with SEND.

The CEN’s MetaSENse[1] study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is synthesising evidence of what remediations work across different pupils with SEND aged 4 to 25. Technically, the project is focusing on “manualised” (i.e., has a published and accessible manual) targeted intervention approaches (either Tier 2 or Tier 3) that go beyond good quality teaching. Tier 2 interventions are often provided in small-group sessions in the classroom during independent work or during times that do not conflict with other critical content areas. Tier 3 provides intensive intervention sessions for individual students with more significant needs or whose needs are not sufficiently met by Tier 2 supports.

In phase 1 of the project, the team is carrying out a systematic review of the empirical literature, followed by a meta-analysis of the data. In addition to analysing of the quality of the evidence base, this meta-analysis will, for the first time, inform which Tier 2 and Tier 3 manualised interventions work best (that is, have largest effect sizes) in relation to different phases of education (preschool, primary, secondary, post-16), and in different educational contexts (special vs mainstream). And this is being done for each category of SEND needs. In phase 2, the team is using in-depth interviews with educational professionals to identify the barriers they face in implementing the most effective practices indicated by the aforementioned evidence.

The project will have a practical outcome: we will produce a toolkit featuring a database that can inform practitioners about the evidence-base underpinning different interventions for pupils with SEND, and which interventions to select in different contexts according to pupils’ needs. This will allow parents, educators, specialist professionals and policymakers to make evidence-informed decisions about how to raise educational outcomes for those with SEND in cost-effective ways. By the same token, it will inform the future research agenda of academics and relevant funders.

Update on our findings: the number of RCTs and QeDs included in MetaSENse

Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) are seen as the ‘gold standard’ way of evaluating what works. In RCTs participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups: the experimental group receiving the intervention or the control group which either receives the business-as-usual support in the classroom or another type of activity (named active control trial) that is not of interest.

Quasi-experimental designs (QeDs) are studies in which two groups of subjects are matched based on one or more characteristics and one group receives the intervention, whilst the other does not and receives either business as usual or an active control intervention. The difference with RCTs is that in QEDs the groups are not randomly allocated.

Together, these two types of study form the best kind of evidence that tell us how effective interventions for SEND are, in what populations and in what contexts.

In our systematic review, we began by collating all the research papers that reported the outcome of evaluating interventions to improve educational abilities in children with SEND. Using our pre-registered search protocol, we identified 55,564 records for title and abstract, which we then screened to evaluate their relevance. We then screened 4323 full texts, as well as full texts from clearing houses, organisations which write composite reports of evidence. From this set, we identified 533 records of studies that meet our inclusion criteria for the systematic review: over 500 studies to review! This initial work demonstrates that there are now a large number of studies that have examined Tier 2 and Tier 3 manualised interventions to improve educational outcomes for those with SEND.

How did we decide which studies to consider? The studies we considered were all published between 1st of January 2000 and 27/02/2023. We only included RCTs and QeDs that were published in peer-reviewed journals or dedicated websites of clearing houses and charities. Student dissertations held by universities were not included. Studies had to include a manualised intervention and report at least one educational outcome related to maths, reading, writing, science or overall attainment. We only included studies that focused on individuals with an existing diagnosis, or if the study screened for a diagnosis using normed assessments. Studies that only included students at risk for SEND based on teacher report or general attainment outcomes were not included, because this might target a much more heterogeneous population. Finally, studies could be completed in any country as long as the text was available in English.

What have we found so far? As can be seen from Figure 1 below, there has been a steady increase in the number of studies that have evaluated which interventions work to improve educational outcomes for students with SEND. Despite the steady increase in study numbers, it is important to note that this represents research globally.

The next step is to extract findings from these studies and use statistics to characterise the overall patterns – an analysis of the analyses, otherwise known as a meta-analysis. We have only completed data extraction for 25% of all studies and so far, have identified relatively few studies that have been carried out in the UK. In addition, the number of RCTs and QeDs alone does not yet tell us anything about the quality of the evidence and whether this has improved over time. So, with data extraction and quality analysis of more than 350 studies still to go… watch this space!

Our interim finding, however, is that there is an encouraging increase over time in the number of studies applying the best evidence-based approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of educational interventions for children with SEND.

Figure 1. Number of studies per publication year for MetaSENse:  All studies include RCTs or QeDs related to improving educational outcomes for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.



More about MetaSENse

You can find out more about the MetaSENse study and research team here: MetaSENse

The metaSENse study is funded by the Nuffield Foundation: The Nuffield Foundation is an independent charitable trust with a mission to advance social well-being. It funds research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare, and Justice. It also funds student programmes that provide opportunities for young people to develop skills in quantitative and scientific methods. The Nuffield Foundation is the founder and co-funder of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Ada Lovelace Institute and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. The Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation. Visit www.nuffieldfoundation.org


[1] Raising educational outcomes for pupils with SEN and disabilities (MetaSENse)


DfE, June 2021: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england#releaseHeadlines-dataBlock-tables

Tuckett, S. et al., (2022). COVID-19 and Disadvantage Gaps in England 2021. Education Policy Institute, https://epi.org.uk/

“Did ChatGPT just ruin education?”


In this blog, Michael Thomas discusses the potential impact of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT on education.

Generative artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, is a form of AI that can generate human-like text based on a ‘large language model’ – information extracted from what is out on the internet. It can write essays and summarise facts, it can give feedback on written work and Excel formulae. There are versions that can generate other types of content, such as images from text, or music. I used DALL:E to generate the above image in response to the text prompt “draw a photorealistic picture of a university administrator thinking very hard about artificial intelligence” (I added the text!). Together, generative AI represents an immensely powerful tool.

In education, one of the principal methods of encouraging conceptual learning, developing writing skills, and assessing knowledge, is to ask students to independently write essays. However, students are now increasingly using generative AI in their work (see, e.g., this recent article from the BBC: ‘Most of our friends use AI in schoolwork‘). This is causing concern among educators and parents alike.

For educators, generative AI represents a significant challenge. Can teachers no longer use essays as an educational tool? Has a principal form of assessment been lost? Generative AI is immensely powerful but it has limitations: it generates plausible, ‘high probability’ text, not necessarily factually correct text, and the content it generates can be biased based on what the AI has found on the internet. Are students using a tool that leads them astray?

Like search engines, generative AI cannot be uninvented. Instead, students should be guided on how best to use generative AI to support their learning. But right now, students frequently know more about what generative AI can do than educators.

CEN Director Michael Thomas recently attended a meeting of the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Artificial Intelligence at the UK House of Lords, convened to discuss the potential impact (for better or worse) of generative artificial intelligence on education. He wrote a report of the meeting for the education think tank Learnus. The 3-page report can be found here.

Here are the main points from the report of the House of Lords meeting:

1. No one was panicking that AI robots were going to take over the world – although everyone recognised the downside risks of generative AI (e.g., inaccurate and biased content, age-inappropriate content, commercial ownership, data privacy). Instead, the main focus was on opportunities.

2. Among experts, there was a diverse range of views expressed on what tools like ChatGPT mean for education – all the way from ‘that don’t impress me’ to ‘it’s a steppingstone to utopia’. Some thought it on a par with the introduction of calculators to maths class, or of search engines for researching essays and projects: a helpful tool, necessitating some tweaking of teaching practice, but not much more. Others thought it would fundamentally alter educational practices and was an opportunity to democratise education – a tool to provide support for all.

3. The kids currently know much more than the teachers – pretty much everyone agreed that the most important first step is to improve teacher literacy on generative AI, to understand what these systems can (and can’t) do, and to begin to think about how they may be used. Perhaps the most important take-home for teachers and students alike is that you’ve got to know the limitations of the technology.

4. Guidance is beginning to emerge – institutions are thinking hard about the educational impact of generative AI, and some guidance is beginning to emerge (e.g., from the UK Department for Education and from the Russell Group of UK universities). As an example, this term, I gave a lecture to university psychology students on how they might use ChatGPT as a tool in their essay writing. I let them know what the chances are of getting caught if they simply use it to write their assessments (given that universities use AI detection tools, and that ChatGPT essays are reasonably easy to spot for content experts); and I also told them the very mediocre mark they would likely receive for an AI generated essay even if they didn’t get caught – because ChatGPT doesn’t write great essays. Here’s a slide summarising some tips:



There are many ways generative AI can be useful in education: to suggest initial ideas, to give feedback on text, to help second language learners improve their writing, for checking and recommending Excel formulae or computer code.

There are inevitably pitfalls we need to avoid (mostly linked to ensuring that content is unbiased and factually true, and that creativity is not stifled – ChatGPT will encourage you to write just like everyone else on the internet!).

But the broad message should be a positive one. In the same way that the invention of search engines gave everyone unprecedented access to vast stores of human knowledge (but ‘knowledge’ not to treated uncritically), generative AI can empower learners. The search is on for the best guidance to allow students to realise the potential of this new tool and avoid its pitfalls.

Did ChatGPT just ruin education? No, it gave education a powerful new tool, but with an instruction manual yet to be written.

New CEN book on how the brain works


The CEN has a new book out, written by CEN Director Michael Thomas and Simon Green, entitled ‘How the brain works: What psychology students need to know’. It provides an accessible overview of how the brain works useful to psychology students and to educators.

The book is published by Sage. For a 25% discount, use the code HTBW25 on the Sage website or on eBooks.com (valid until 31/12/24).

Michael says: “We wanted to write an accessible book on how the brain works. When psychology students or educators are introduced to the brain, the material often focuses on the Latin names for different structures, or how brain scanners work. As one student said to us, ‘I wanted to know why neurons communicate both electrically and chemically. I wanted to know why the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. But whenever I asked these sorts of ‘why’ questions, the teacher kept saying, just learn it, it’s in the textbook’. Simon and I set out to write a book that gives an overall gist of how the brain works and why it works that way, which ultimately led us to placing the brain in its evolutionary context; and then showing how homo sapiens has subsequently stepped out of this context – in the main, through a cultural focus on education. The book shows how our minds have the peculiar properties they do because of how the brain works (including the way we learn); that the brain works the way it does because of biology; and that biology works the way it does because of evolution.”

For more on the book, see Michael and Simon’s recent interview in the Psychologist magazine. Supporting material for the book can be found here.

Finding numbers hard – facts and myths about dyscalculia



What is dyscalculia?

Many people may struggle to develop strong mathematical abilities for many different reasons and thus mathematical difficulties are best thought of as a continuum (BDA, 2019). Dyscalculia falls on one end of that continuum and is a specific learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to understand numerical information and perform mathematical operations (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Watch our explainer video

Here’s a video we produced as part of our NeuroSENse project

How is dyscalculia defined?

Although definitions may vary,  individuals with dyscalculia may have difficulty with mental maths, trouble understanding mathematical concepts, difficulty with sequencing and organising information, and challenges with time and money management. These difficulties manifest during the early school years and must persist for at least 6 months to be diagnosed, according to DSM-V criteria. In addition, these learning difficulties cannot be attributed to intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders, or neurological or motor disorders. While dyscalculia is often diagnosed in childhood, it can also affect adolescents and adults.

How common is it?

Prevalence rates of dyscalculia have proven difficult to ascertain given that different inclusion criteria for dyscalculia are often used (Szűcs & Goswami, 2013). Based on a small number of previous studies, the prevalence of dyscalculia has been estimated to range between 1.3% and 10% of the population (Devine et al., 2013). This is equivalent to roughly 3 children in every class of 30 children, making it a relatively common condition that can affect people of all levels of intelligence.

How is dyscalculia diagnosed?

Dyscalculia can be diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional, and there are strategies and interventions that can help individuals with dyscalculia improve their mathematical skills and make progress.

Dyscalculia is not a neuromyth. The exact causes of dyscalculia are not yet fully understood, but researchers believe that there may be a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain-related factors that contribute to the condition (Van Herwegen, 2020). It is important to understand the facts about dyscalculia to provide appropriate support and accommodations for individuals who may have this condition.

Yet, there are several common misconceptions (neuromyths) about dyscalculia. Here are our top 5 myths!

Myths about dyscalculia

Neuromyth 1: If a person struggles with mathematics they have dyscalculia

This is not necessarily the case. Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty that affects an individual’s ability to understand and perform mathematical operations. This it is not the same as simply having difficulties with mathematics. A child may struggle with mathematics for a myriad of reasons, including lack of interest, poor teaching, or the curriculum being too delivered too quickly for their capacity. In addition, maths anxiety can be a contributing factor to difficulties with maths, but that doesn’t mean people with maths anxiety necessarily have dyscalculia (Devine et al., 2018). Most people with dyscalculia have specific mathematical difficulties such as understanding how numbers relate to each other (number sense), memorising and retrieving numerical facts as well as make counting errors.

Neuromyth 2: Individuals who are dyscalculic usually only have problems with numbers and can read and write at typical levels

Individuals with dyscalculia typically experience difficulties with their working memory and visuo-spatial skills (Kroesbergen et al., 2022). As such, dyscalculia impacts all areas of the curriculum, not just mathematics. In addition, up to 20-60% of those with dyscalculia also have other learning difficulties, such as, ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia (Morsanyi et al., 2018; von Aster & Shalev, 2007), with co-occurrence of maths and reading difficulties as high as 70% (Moll et, al, 2019). This can mean individuals with dyscalculia also have problems with attention, reading and writing. It is thought that the overlap between dyscalculia and other learning difficulties is caused by shared difficulties with procedural learning (Evans & Ullman, 2016), the learning and control of skills and habits.

Neuromyth 3: Individuals with dyscalculia can be best helped by teaching them to remember number facts

Difficulties with number facts is only one aspect of dyscalculia. Although the actual cause of dyscalculia has not yet been established, many individuals with dyscalculia show difficulties  with reasoning about quantities, and with a sense of what numbers represent (Butterworth, 2018). As such, they may need targeted interventions and support to succeed in academic and everyday life. Additionally, accommodations such as extra time for assessments, use of a calculator, or modifications to assignments can help students with dyscalculia succeed in the maths curriculum (Fuchs et al., 2008). While there are strategies and interventions that can help individuals with dyscalculia improve their maths skills, there is no cure for dyscalculia, which is a lifelong difficulty.

Neuromyth 4: It is often thought that individuals with dyscalculia are impaired across the entire maths curriculum

Indeed, most individuals with dyscalculia may struggle with basic arithmetic, number sense, and mathematical reasoning, which can impact their ability to learn and apply maths concepts across different areas of the curriculum. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals with dyscalculia can be very good at geometry and algebra but there is scant evidence on the knowledge of geometry and algebra in individuals with dyscalculia. It is important to note that the severity and scope of dyscalculia can vary from person to person (see for example studies that have examined the existence of sub-groups within dyscalculia: Bartelet et al, 2014; Costa et al., 2018). While most people with dyscalculia struggle with many different mathematical concepts and procedures, some individuals with dyscalculia may have strengths in particular areas of maths and with good teaching and practice individuals with dyscalculia can make progress in maths, especially if targeted early intervention is provided.

Neuromyth 5: The dyscalculic brain is wired differently, which causes problems with maths but is often associated with strengths like creativity, strategic thinking, and intuitive thinking

There is currently no scientific evidence to support the claim that people with dyscalculia are more creative than those without dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to understand and work with numbers. It does not necessarily affect a person’s creativity or artistic abilities. However, it is worth noting that people with dyscalculia may have developed compensatory strategies to deal with their difficulties in mathematics, which could enhance their creativity in other areas. For example, they may have developed stronger verbal and visual reasoning skills, or they may have developed a more intuitive approach to problem-solving. These compensatory strategies could potentially translate into enhanced creativity in certain domains. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that dyscalculia is a real and significant learning difficulty that can have a negative impact on a person’s academic and professional success. It is essential to provide appropriate support and accommodations for individuals with dyscalculia to help them overcome their challenges and reach their full potential, regardless of their creativity levels.

Here’s your take home

In sum, although the exact causes of dyscalculia are not yet fully understood, dyscalculia can have a profound impact on people’s lives, especially in terms of educational outcomes and financial success. Early intervention is required to help people with dyscalculia to achieve their full mathematical potential. However, neuromyths can prevent timely diagnosis, create stigma and impact on intervention practices (Gini et al., 2020) and thus, it is important to continue our understanding of dyscalculia and reflect on any beliefs, knowledge and practices. Further research on dyscalculia especially to how it manifests over time is required.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5 (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.

Bartelet, D., Ansari, D., Vaessen, A., & Blomert, L. (2014). Cognitive subtypes of mathematics learning difficulties in primary education. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(3), 657-670. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.12.010.

Butterworth, B. (2018). Dyscalculia: From science to education. Routledge.

Costa, H.M., Nicholson, B., Donlan, C., & Van Herwegen, J. (2018). Low performance on mathematical tasks in preschoolers : the importance of domain-general and domain-specific abilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 62(4), 292-302.

Devine, A., Soltész, F., Nobes, A., Goswami, U., & Szűcs, D. (2013). Gender differences in developmental dyscalculia depend on diagnostic criteria. Learning and Instruction, 27, 31–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.02.004

Devine, A., Hill, F., Carey, E. and Szűcs, D. (2018) Cognitive and emotional math problems largely dissociate: Prevalence of developmental dyscalculia and mathematics anxiety. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(3): 431–44.

Evans, M. & Ullman, M.T. (2016). An extension of the procedural deficit hypothesis from developmental language disorders to mathematical disability. Frontiers in Psychology 7 ,1-9.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Powell, S. R., Seethaler, P. M., Cirino, P. T., & Fletcher, J. M. (2008). Intensive Intervention for Students with Mathematics Disabilities: Seven Principles of Effective Practice. Learning Disability Quarterly, 31(2), 79- 92. https://doi.org/10.2307/20528819

Gini, S., Knowland, V., Thomas, M.S.C. & Van Herwegen, J. (2021). Neuromyths about neurodevelopmental disorders: Misconceptions by educators and the general public. Mind, Brain & Education, 15(4), 289-298.

Kroesbergen, E. H., Huijsmans, M. D. E., & Friso-van den Bos, I. (2022). A Meta-Analysis on the Differences in Mathematical and Cognitive Skills Between Individuals With and Without Mathematical Learning Disabilities. Review of Educational Research0(0). https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543221132773

Moll, K., Landerl, K., Snowling, M. J., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2019). Understanding comorbidity of learning disorders: Task-dependent estimates of prevalence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(3), 286–294. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12965

Morsanyi, K., van Bers, B.M.C.W., McCormack, T., & McGourty, J. (2018). The prevalence of specific learning disorder in mathematics and comorbidity with other developmental disorders in primary school-age children, British Journal of Psychology, 109(4), 917-940, ISSN: 0007-1269. DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12322.

Szűcs, D., & Goswami, U. (2013). Developmental dyscalculia: Fresh perspectives. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 2(2), 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tine.2013.06.004

Van Herwegen, J. (2020). Math Disorder. In: S. Hupp & J. Jewell. The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, UK.

von Aster, M. G., & Shalev, R. S. (2007). Number development and developmental dyscalculia. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology49(11), 868–873. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.00868.x

Avoiding the hype over early foreign language teaching


New CEN paper: Foreign language provision in English primary schools: making evidence-based pedagogical choices

Dr Sue Whiting and Prof. Chloë Marshall from the CEN have published a new paper in the journal Frontiers in Education. The paper aims to arm education professionals with a critical awareness of the (lack of) evidence supporting the bilingual advantage and innovative foreign language taster courses, to help them make evidence-based decisions regarding how to teach foreign languages in primary schools.

Here, lead author Sue Whiting discusses why certain widely held beliefs (e.g. that learning a second language confers an academic advantage, and that the younger-the-better maxim for naturalistic language learning is valid in classroom settings) are tempting some schools to explore unproven ways of teaching languages to 3-11 year olds.

Is foreign-language learning working?

Fluency in more than one language is clearly an advantage in our modern global age of multicultural societies. However, foreign language learning appears to be in crisis in countries where the majority of the population are English monolinguals, i.e., in Anglophone contexts. This has been attributed to the dominance of English as a global language giving rise to the perception that native English speakers do not need to learn other languages (Lanvers et al., 2021).

Despite a recent government initiative in England (Department for Education (DfE), 2013) to introduce foreign language teaching for one hour a week for Years 3-6 (Key Stage 2; KS2), a motivational crisis appears to start from about 11 years of age, once pupils enter secondary school (Lanvers & Martin, 2021): many pupils perceive learning a foreign language to be irrelevant, boring, difficult, and that ‘English is enough’ (Lanvers et al., 2021).

Does bilingualism itself help cognition?

In addition to any obvious personal, social, cultural and economic benefits of being fluent in two or more languages, there are also controversial claims that a ‘bilingual advantage’ leads to improved academic outcomes (Bialystok et al., 2009). This advantage purportedly arises when the skills that are acquired in coordinating two languages transfer to other, non-linguistic, mental processes relevant to learning in school and thereby improve educational outcomes. The research substantiating these claims, though, is mixed with generally only earlier studies, which usually involved only a small number of participants, revealing benefits (Duñabeitia & Carreiras, 2015; Paap et al., 2015, 2019; Van den Noort et al., 2019): lack of replicability is a particular issue (e.g., Bialystok & Martin, 2004; Shokrkon & Nicoladis, 2021).

The ‘bilingual advantage’ is not a robust effect

Many authors now consider that any bilingual advantage occurs only in ‘very specific and undetermined circumstances’ (Paap et al., 2015) and, in relation to academic performance, is likely to be a neuromyth (CEN, 2023). Furthermore, any benefit is likely to entail regularly engaging with the second language rather than experiencing it for just an hour a week in an artificial, classroom environment with little or no out-of-school exposure.

Beware the sales pitch

Nevertheless some language resource websites are targeting schools and caregivers with aggressive marketing of their products, by suggesting that all children learning foreign languages will gain such wide-reaching, general cognitive benefits in all circumstances. Some of the sale pitches appeal to notions of the brain (such as left-brain versus right-brain learning) that have been identified by other authors to be neuromyths (CEN, n.d.). Furthermore, claims far exceed what the current evidence shows, often citing newspapers’ headline catching articles or online articles written by non-specialists.

Against the backdrop of the disappointing results from the current KS2 Foreign Languages policy, such bilingual advantage claims are encouraging some schools not governed by KS2 regulations, i.e., state schools [Early Years to Year 2 (3–7 years of age)] and independent schools (3–11 years of age) to explore unproven ways of teaching foreign languages so their pupils may enjoy enhanced cognitive ability and academic success.

Here’s what doesn’t work

One unproven, and previously discredited, idea resurrected from the 1980s, albeit with older children, is that of schools giving young children a superficial exposure to multiple foreign languages in the belief that they will become natural linguists with native-like speech in numerous foreign languages. This is despite a lack of evidence from either research into a younger-the-better advantage for classroom language learning (Lightbown & Spada, 2020; Mitchell & Myles, 2019; Myles, 2017) or from language awareness research that superficial exposure to multiple languages would support learning (HMI, 1990, para. 66).

There are huge challenges in transferring the rich, immersive, native-language learning environment, where young children learn by ‘doing’ along with access to many hours a day of high-quality input from multiple social interactions, to the formal foreign language learning primary school classroom that typically provides just one hour of exposure each week. The arguments against providing a shallow exposure of several languages are as valid today as in 1990 when the HMI Language Courses Report concluded that ‘short, watered down, fragmented and thin experiences in too many languages’ provided ‘an utterly inadequate base for mastering practical communication skills in any one language and developing proficiency therein’. Then, as now, a policy of continuous exposure to just one foreign language is considered to be superior.

How to judge a good method for teaching foreign languages

We end our paper by recommending that schools should be extremely wary of being persuaded to be the first school to try something innovative when it is sold as being ‘ahead of the game’, or to take part in a research project for which they have to pay. We provide some objective criteria to help schools, from early years settings to the end of primary, to judge the efficacy of unproven methods of teaching foreign languages (or, indeed, other subjects) before adopting them. Here are our top five recommendations:

  1. Remember, a product sold as ‘ahead of the game’ often means untried and untested
  2. Approach other schools already using the innovative protocol to establish what quantifiable outcomes can be reasonably expected
  3. Check the credentials and qualifications of the person making the proposal. Has the Education Endowment Foundation evaluated the proposed pedagogic approach?
  4. If the innovative scheme is sold as a ‘research project’ then it would have been approved by the relevant university’s Ethics Committee. External funding will usually be available, too, in which case there should be no costs to the school in the form of expenses or for consultancy fees.
  5. Schools should consult with, and request approval from, their board of governors. The Primary Languages Policy white paper recommends developing ‘effective partnerships between head teachers and governors’  (Holmes & Myles, 2019, p. 13, p. 16). Boards often have the diverse experience to properly interrogate innovate schemes for educational provision.


Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., Green, D. W., & Gollan, T. H. (2009). Bilingual Minds. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10(3), 89–129. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100610387084

CEN, (2023). Learning two languages gives an advantage at school | Centre for Educational Neuroscience

CEN, (n.d.). Left brain versus right brain thinkers | Centre for Educational Neuroscience

Department for Education (DfE) (2013). Languages programmes of study: key stage 2 National curriculum in England. Available here (Accessed July 15, 2023).

Duñabeitia, J. A., & Carreiras, M. (2015). The bilingual advantage: acta est fabula? Cortex, 73, 371-372. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.06.009

HMI (1990). A survey of language awareness and foreign language taster courses. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office 1990. Available here (Accessed July 15, 2023)

Lanvers, U., & Martin, C. (2021). Choosing language options at secondary school in England. In U. Lanvers, A. S. Thompson, & M. East (Eds.), Language Learning in Anglophone Countries (pp. 89–115). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56654-8

Lanvers, U., Thompson, A. S., & East, M. (2021). Introduction: is language learning in Anglophone countries in crisis? In U. Lanvers, A. S. Thompson, & M. East (Eds.), Language Learning in Anglophone Countries (pp. 1–13). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56654-8

Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2020). Teaching and learning L2 in the classroom: it’s about time. Language Teaching, 53, 422–432. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444819000454

Mitchell, R., & Myles, F. (2019). Learning French in the UK setting: policy, classroom engagement and attainable learning outcomes. Apples Journal of Applied Language Studies, 13(1), pp. 69–93. https://doi.org/10.17011/apples/urn.201903011690

Myles, F. (2017). Learning foreign languages in primary schools: is younger better? Languages, Society & Policy, 1(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.9806

Noort, M. Van Den, Struys, E., Bosch, P., Jaswetz, L., Perriard, B., Yeo, S., … Lim, S. (2019). Does the bilingual advantage in cognitive control exist and if so, what are its modulating factors? Behavioral Sciences, 9(27), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9030027

Paap, K. R., Johnson, H. A., & Sawi, O. (2015). Bilingual advantages in executive functioning either do not exist or are restricted to very specific and undetermined circumstances. Cortex, 69, 265–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.04.014

Paap, K. R., Schwieter, J., & Paradis, M. (2019). The bilingual advantage debate: quantity and quality of the evidence. In J. W. Schwieter (Ed.), The handbook of the neuroscience of multilingualism (pp. 701–735). London:Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119387725.ch34

Shokrkon, A., & Nicoladis, E. (2021). Absence of a bilingual cognitive flexibility advantage: a replication study in preschoolers. PLoS ONE, 16(8), 14–18. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255157

Van den Noort,M., Struys, E., Bosch, P., Jaswetz, L., Perriard, B., Yeo, S., … Lim, S. (2019). Does the bilingual advantage in cognitive control exist and if so, what are its modulating factors? Behavioral Sciences, 9(27), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9030027



Using neurotechnology in the classroom


In a new issue of the educational journal Comunicar, Jo van Herwegen and Michael Thomas from the CEN have teamed up with María-José Hernández-Serrano from the University of Salamanca in Spain to co-edit a special edition on the use of neurotechnology in the classroom.

What counts as a neurotechnology? Neurotechnology comprises a range of techniques that offer information about the operation of the brain separate from how it shows up in behaviour, especially the kinds of behaviour that educators typically monitor to track students’ progress in learning. The use of neurotechnology is therefore rooted in the assumption that the way that learning works in the brain will be relevant for educators.

Neurotechnologies might directly reflect physiological markers of brain function, such as in the brain’s electrical discharges (electroencephalography or EEG) or its regional oxygenated blood flow (functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy or fNIRs). They may reflect body markers of the operation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system, the network of nerves that helps the body activate its “fight-or-flight” response. Such markers often index emotional processes (for example, the electrical conductance of the surface of the skin, which depends on sweat release, so-called electrodermal activity). Or they may detect subtle behavioural markers reflecting attention processes or memory retrieval (for example, eye-tracking or pupil dilation). Together, these measures can offer a window on students’ engagement in the classroom, their current knowledge, their emotional state, and the nature of learning as it unfolds.

There are two advantages that neurotechnology can potentially bring to the classroom. First, it can offer educators real-time information to guide practices, either on the current state of their students or the effectiveness of the teacher’s current activities – though the technical challenge of instantly turning rich neurotechnology data into an educationally usable form renders this still, perhaps, a promise rather than a reality.

The second advantage is that using neurotechnologies in the classroom provides greater ecologically validity to study learning and instruction in the context where it occurs, rather than in the artificially controlled context of the laboratory. This means that the use of neurotechnologies in the classroom engages with the embodied sensory, emotional, and social context in which teaching and learning actually occur.

The special Issue is a contribution to this emerging field, compiling a variety of studies conducted in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and Taiwan, carried out with different neurotechnologies and approaches, from different perspectives. An introduction to the volume and an overview of the papers can be found here.

How educational are ‘educational’ games?


Alexandra Moroti is part of the global customer research team at Amazon. Alexandra recently completed Birkbeck-UCL-IoE’s Masters in Educational Neuroscience degree. She was attracted to the course due to the novelty of the field, with its multifaceted approach of connecting different disciplines such as biology, neuroscience, and psychology with education – as well as the fact that it is a conjoined programme offered by three leading institutions. In this blog, we asked Alexandra to tell us about the independent research project she completed as part of her masters degree, in which she investigated educational games. Over to you, Alexandra.

“A quick search for “educational toy” on Google yields 191 million results in under a second, most of which are blog posts with affiliate links or recommendations from media outlets. A search for “educational toys” on Mumsnet, a popular parenting blog in the UK, shows numerous inquiries seeking age-appropriate recommendations. While many articles highlight the best educational toys for specific age groups, there are often no clear criteria for selecting these toys.

The purpose of educational toys is to aid a child’s development in a specific area, such as teaching coding or promoting motor skills. These toys should be active, engaging, meaningful, and socially interactive. However, the labelling of toys as “educational” is not regulated, and the development of educational toys often lacks sufficient research into age-appropriate developmental principles relevant to the claimed outcome.

To evaluate the claims of a popular toy marketed as enhancing social cognition in children through socio-emotional learning, I conducted a small-scale pre-test/post-test experimental design, to investigate the effects on young children of playing with a particular “educational” toy over a period of 14 days.

The selected toy

The toy selected for the research was ‘Big Feelings Pineapple,’ marketed for children aged three years and above. The aim of the toy is to build preschool social-emotional learning skills by supporting the recognition of emotional facial expressions. The toy came with a leaflet of 24 expressions, including the six universal emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise, which can be constructed using various pieces including eyebrows, eyes, and mouths. Here’s the product image (taken from its Amazon page).

61sufahv84s-_ac_sx679_The study

Child participants played with the Pineapple toy and were assessed before and after the intervention on four tasks – two experimental and two control tasks. I evaluated the child’s interaction with the toy through an in-the-moment play assessment tool, and then coded parental observations from a daily play diary.

I found that, although the Pineapple toy was good at promoting communication, it scored lower than predicted in the “Thinking and learning” and “Social interaction” dimensions of my measures. Children were mostly engaged with the toy when their parents were involved, but the toy lacked context and explanation when used alone. Parents who engaged their children with the toy in a meaningful way had more in-depth conversations about emotions later in the trial, and the toy was seen as a positive facilitator for conversations on emotions.

The children showed higher levels of emotion recognition post-play than they did pre-play, but the improvement was not related to the number of times the child played with the toy. This makes it ambiguous whether it was the toy having the effect or natural development. I wish I had included a ‘control group’ of children who had played with another type of toy, to check for this!

Broader lessons from my research study

While initiatives like Common Sense Media exist to help parents choose the best products for their kids, they do not include educational toys. Recently, some researchers have started to pay closer attention to the overuse of the label “educational” in marketing toys, with some researchers also turning their attention to educational value of “educational” apps. For example, see papers by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and colleagues, Marisa Meyer and colleagues, and Shayl Griffith and colleagues.

In my view, an important future step is to establish guidelines for the development, marketing, and testing of educational toys to ensure that they are truly beneficial for a child’s development. This could involve consultation with researchers in the field, qualitative research such as focus groups and in-depth interviews with stakeholders, and longitudinal studies to assess the educational claims made by manufacturers. By doing so, parents can make informed decisions about which toys truly aid their child’s development. But my study suggests that a key role for toys may be how they support interactions between parents and children that in turn stimulate learning.

I think children’s learning should be a collective effort that goes beyond the household. Society should ensure that cities and environments, curricula, and manufacturers’ claims support educational experiences that prepare children for a future where adaptability and mental balance are crucial.”

Thanks, so much, Alexandra! If you are interested in this topic, take a look at this article which considers whether toys and games improve children’s thinking generally or just make kids better at playing games. And this article by Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens, speculating on what skills children may have to learn in 2050!


Launching the CEN summer seminar series!


The CEN summer seminar series is up and running. Open to the public and taking place online on Thursdays at 4pm (UK time), with some hybrid sessions, the Centre for Educational Neuroscience seminar series provides bite-sized insights into cutting-edge research in the field, presented by researchers from across the globe.

These seminars are designed for anyone who is interested in educational neuroscience, including teachers, students, researchers, and the general public.

This term, the CEN seminar series offers a wide range of captivating presentations. In our first seminar on Thursday 20th April from 4 pm – 5 pm UK time, we are delighted to welcome Prof Nienke van Atteveldt from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam who will be talking about the neurocognitive interplay between motivation, learning behavior and achievement. Upcoming highlights include Prof. Roberto Filippi on growing up/becoming multilingual, Dr Dominic Kelly on using secondary data and multiverse analyses to extend adolescent research, Roisin Perry on executive function goes to school: A focus on socioeconomic status and autism, Yasin Arslan on the role of educational neuroscience in teacher training, and Dr Nandini Chatterjee Singh from UNESCO MGIEP asking: can game-play build a better world?

For the full timetable of the seminars on offer this term and to explore recordings of previous seminars, check out our Seminar Series and Conferences website here.

You can also register to receive updates, or check out the CEN twitter for news and information at @UoL_CEN.

How well are adults able to ‘break into’ language in an unfamiliar modality?

sign-language-imageIn this blog, the CEN’s Professor Chloë Marshall describes the findings of a recent project to investigate how easily hearing adults can learn sign language.

It is most people’s experience that learning a language is much harder in adulthood than it is in childhood, whether or not there is a critical or sensitive period for language-learning (Most learning happens in the first 3 years | Centre for Educational Neuroscience; Hartshorne et al., 2018). Research has shown that babies and young children possess powerful cognitive mechanisms for extracting statistical regularities from a stream of speech or sign language, and that these mechanisms allow them to ‘break into’ language by mapping word forms to meanings (Berent et al., 2021; Hay et al., 2011). But what about adults? Do they still retain these mechanisms? And if so, can they utilise them when confronted not only with a new language but a language in a modality that they have not previously encountered, namely a sign language?

What can hearing adults learn from viewing a few minutes of naturalistic sign language?

A project led by the CEN’s Chloë Marshall and funded by the Leverhulme Trust set out to investigate what hearing adults can learn from viewing just a few minutes of naturalistic sign language. She and her colleagues Dr Julia Hofweber, Prof. Marianne Gullberg, Lizzy Aumônier and Dr Vikki Janke adapted a paradigm used by Gullberg in previous work. Gullberg et al. (2010) had demonstrated that adult speakers of Dutch were able, after just a few minutes of watching a weather forecast presented in Mandarin Chinese, to learn something about word forms, word meanings, and sound regularities of this unfamiliar language.

Weather forecasts in Swedish Sign Language

Chloë and her team wanted to investigate whether English-speaking adults who had never learned any sign language would be able to learn similar linguistic information after short exposure to Swedish Sign Language (Svenskt teckenspråk, STS). They developed a four-minute weather forecast in STS, within which were embedded 22 ‘target’ signs that varied in occurrence frequency (they occurred either three or eight times in the forecast) and in iconicity (how closely the form of the sign resembled its meaning).

They also created three experimental tasks. In Task 1, participants were shown a mix of target signs and signs that they had not viewed in the forecast, and they had to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked whether they had seen the signs before. In Task 2, participants were shown each target sign and had to write down what they thought it meant. In Task 3, participants were shown target signs and signs that could or could not be signs of STS, and they had to make a judgement as to whether they thought each sign was a real sign of the language or not. Participants viewed the weather forecast and then did just one of the three tasks. The task was a surprise for them – they were not warned beforehand that they would have to do it. In this way the researchers were testing implicit and unattended learning.


A still image from the Swedish Sign Language weather forecast

What the study found

Although participants found all three tasks challenging, the results from Task 1 (which assessed the recognition of sign forms) and Task 2 (which assessed whether participants could work out the meaning of the signs) indicated that they had managed to learn something. Participants were more accurate in recognising and assigning meaning to signs that occurred more frequently in the forecast and that were more iconic. Unlike in the original Mandarin Chinese study of Gullberg et al. (2010), however, participants did not appear to have learnt anything about what forms possible signs can take. Nevertheless, taken as a whole this exciting project has shown that the cognitive mechanisms that adults bring to ‘breaking into’ a new language are not limited to just speech, but can be employed even when the language modality is an unfamiliar one.














A still image from one of the target signs used in the experimental tasks, meaning ‘rainbow’. This is an example of a highly iconic sign, because it is visually very similar to a rainbow. Other target signs were less iconic. For example, the sign for ‘mountain’ involves the two fists rubbing past one another, which does not resemble the shape of a mountain at all. Sign-naïve adults found signs like ‘mountain’ harder to remember and guess the meaning of than highly iconic signs such as ‘rainbow’.

What are the implications?

Although the project was not designed to evaluate the effectiveness of sign language teaching, the findings have potential implications for education. The fact that both the form and the meaning of signs were better learnt when they occurred with higher frequency in the input is not surprising given what scientists already know about the role of frequency in language learning (Ellis, 2002), but it provides support for teachers manipulating the frequency of signs in their teaching materials and motivation for learners to seek repeated exposure to such materials. More innovatively, the findings also support the inclusion of signs that are high in iconicity because their meaning is more guessable.

An additional finding from the study, namely that participants’ scores on a range of cognitive tasks such as English vocabulary, executive functions and non-verbal reasoning did not correlate with their learning, suggests that at the early stages of sign language learning the characteristics of the learning materials might matter more for learning than students’ cognitive abilities.

More work needed on second language learning of sign

This set of studies needs replicating in different sign languages and with different input materials. Nevertheless, the findings make an important contribution to the field of the second language learning of sign, where much less is known compared to spoken language learning (Schӧnstrӧm & Marshall, 2022). One paper from the project has been published (Hofweber et al., 2022), another has been accepted for publication (Hofweber et al., 2023), and others are in process. Please contact Chloë if you would like further information (chloe.marshall@ucl.ac.uk).


Berent, I., de la Cruz-Pavía, I., Brentari, D. & Gervain, J. (2021). Infants differentially extract rules from language. Scientific Reports, 11, 20001. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99539-8

Ellis, N. (2002). Frequency effects in language processing: A review with implications for Theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24(2), 143-188. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263102002024

Gullberg, M., Roberts, L., Dimroth, C., Veroude, K., & Indefrey, P. (2010). Adult language learning after minimal exposure to an unknown natural language. Language Learning, 60, 5-24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00598.x

Hartshorne, J., Tenenbaum, J., & Pinker, S. (2018). A critical period for second language acquisition: Evidence from 2/3 million English speakers. Cognition, 177:263-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.04.007

Hay, J. F., Pelucchi, B., Graf Estes, K., & Saffran, J. R. (2011). Linking sounds to meanings: Infant statistical learning in a natural language. Cognitive Psychology, 63, 93-106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2011.06.002

Hofweber, J. E., Aumônier, L., Janke, V., Gullberg, M., & Marshall, C. (2022). Breaking into language in a new modality: The role of input and individual differences in recognising signs. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:895880. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.895880

Hofweber, J., Aumônier, L., Janke, V., Gullberg, M., & Marshall, C. R. (accepted). Which aspects of visual motivation aid the implicit learning of signs at first exposure? Language Learning.

Mott, M., Midgley, K., Holcomb, P., & Emmorey, K. (2020). Cross-modal translation priming and iconicity effects in deaf signers and hearing learners of American Sign Language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23, 1032-1044. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000889

Schӧnstrӧm, K., & Marshall, C.R. (2022). SLA2: Linking the domains of second language acquisition and sign language acquisition. Introduction to special issue ‘second language acquisition of sign languages’. Language, Interaction and Acquisition, 13, 145-158. https://doi.org/10.1075/lia.00014.eng