Psychologist helps develop language development tool for bilingual children

A Kent Psychologist has played an important role in a research breakthrough in the assessment of language development for bilingual two-year-olds.

In a study, led by the University of Plymouth, Kent’s Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith and academics from eight other UK universities demonstrated for the first time that typically-developing bilingual two-year-olds, who are learning a language which has similar sounds and structures to English, know more words than those who are learning a language which is very different to English.

This information allowed the researchers to develop the first toolkit for health professionals to accurately assess how well bilingual pre-school children are learning language.

Read more at the News Centre page.

Postgraduate students to attend science infographics event

Congratulations to Lauren SpinnerAife Hopkins-Doyle and Kiran Purewal, who have been awarded £120, £80 and £80 respectively by the Graduate School Eastern ARC Student Mobility Fund to assist them in attending the science infographics hack event, INFOHACKIT. This is a unique opportunity for PhD and postdoctoral researchers to work with infographic designers and data developers to produce amazing graphics to communicate research – all within an intense 12 hour period!

INFOHACKIT 2016 is free to attend, and takes place on Monday 22 February at the Open venue in Norwich city centre. It follows a previous event run with the Marine Knowledge Exchange Network (M-KEN).

ESRC 1+3 CASE Studentship 2016

Virtual intergroup contact to create Global Citizens: Tackling prejudice in children using new digital media

Applications are invited for a 1+3 ESRC studentship in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, in collaboration with Globe Smart Kids, under the supervision of Dr Lindsey Cameron and Professor Dominic Abrams.

The deadline for applications is March 17th 2016, and candidates will be interviewed either at the University of Kent or via Skype/video link within 2 -3 weeks of this deadline.

The deadline for receipt of applications for this scholarship has now passed.

Kirsten Abbot-Smith wins best article award

Many congratulations to Dr Allegra Cattani (Plymouth University) and Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith, who were presented with an award from the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders for best research article of the year today. The award is for a paper entitled ‘How much exposure to English is necessary for a bilingual toddler to perform like a monolingual peer in language tests?’, on which they were senior authors. Their article was praised for combining clinical impact with theoretical interest and an excellent statistical analysis.

Full article reference:
Cattani, A., Abbot-Smith,. K., Farag, R., Krott, A., Arreckx, F., Dennis, I. & Floccia, C. (2014). How much exposure to English is necessary for a bilingual toddler to perform like a monolingual peer in language tests? International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 49(6), 649-671. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12082

Children and Social Exclusion

Dominic Abrams and Melanie Killen published their edition of the Journal of Social Issues drawing together a collection of ten cutting edge papers examining how when and why children engage in or resist excluding one another from social groups. The papers are drawn from all over the world and report evidence about exclusion based on gender, ethnicity, nationality and disability. For more details see: