Prof. Emily Farran

Prof. Emily Farran is a Professor of Cognitive Development at the UCL Institute of Education. ‎

Research Interests ‎

Prof. Farran’s primary research interests relate to cognitive development in neurodevelopmental ‎disordered groups, with a specific emphasis on visuo-spatial cognition. The broad aim of her ‎research is to characterise both typical and atypical development of cognitive functions within a ‎neuroconstructivist framework (i.e. functions are explored within the context of the developing ‎brain). This involves analytical investigation of visuo-spatial performance in both small-scale ‎‎(e.g. perception, mental imagery, drawing and construction abilities) and large-scale space ‎‎(navigational and route learning abilities), as well as related mechanisms (e.g. memory, attention and executive function). Her most recent research interest relates to the relationship between spatial thinking and Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) in typically developing primary school age children.

Prof. Farran leads the Cognition, Genes & Developmental Variability Lab ( and her group have ‎published work on the performance of typically developing children, typical adults, individuals ‎with Autism, Down syndrome and Williams syndrome and has received funding from the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, the Education Endowment Fund, the Wellcome Trust, the Bloomsbury Colleges and the Williams Syndrome Foundation, UK, as well as international funding from L’ Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Autour des Williams and Fondation Jerome Lejeune, France.

Publications ‎

Please see the list below for a selection of Prof. Farran’s recent publications. More information ‎about Prof. Farran including a more extensive publication list can be found here: Prof. Farran’s Publications

Farran, E.K., Broadbent, H., Atkinson, L. (2016). Impaired Spatial Category Representations in Williams Syndrome; an Investigation of the Mechanistic Contributions of Non-verbal Cognition and Spatial Language Performance. Frontiers in Psychology. 7. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01868

Camp, J.S., Karmiloff-Smith, A, Thomas, M.S.C, Farran, E.K. (2016) Cross-syndrome comparison of real-world executive functioning and problem solving using a new problem-solving questionnaire. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 69, 80-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2016.07.006

Farran, E.K., Formby, S., Daniyal. F., Holmes. T., Van Herwegen, J. (2016). Route-learning strategies in typical and atypical development; eye tracking reveals atypical landmark selection in Williams syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability, 60, 933-944. doi: 10.1111/jir.12331

Farran, E.K., Atkinson, L. (2016). The development of spatial category representations from four to seven years. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34, 555-568. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12149

Farran, E.K. & O’Leary, B. (2016). Children’s ability to bind and maintain colour-location conjunctions: the effect of spatial language cues. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28, 44-51. doi: 10.1080/20445911.2015.1092980

Farran, E.K. Purser, H.R.M., Courbois, Y., Ballé, M. Sockeel, P., Mellier, D, Blades, M. (2015). Route knowledge and configural knowledge in typical and atypical development: a comparison of sparse and rich environments. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 7:37. doi: 10.1186/s11689-015-9133-6

Broadbent, H. J., Farran, E. K., & Tolmie, A. (2015). Sequential egocentric navigation and reliance on landmarks in Williams syndrome and typical development. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00216