Attention,Brain & CognitiveDevelopment

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Dr Gaia Scerif

Role University Lecturer in Experimental Psychology
Tutorial Fellow of St. Catherine's College
Group head(-less chicken)
Office Room D153
Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3UD
Phone +44 [0] 1865 271403
Fax +44 [0] 1865 310447


I read Psychology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), spending a year as a visiting student at Queen’s University, in Canada. I then moved to London for a PhD at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, supervised by Professors Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Jon Driver, in close collaboration with Prof Kim Cornish (now at Monash University, Australia). After a brief visiting fellowship (now developed into an ongoing collaboration) at the Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology, Cornell University, in 2003 I became a lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham. I have been based in Oxford since October 2006.

You can find my curriculum vitae here


Research Interests

My interests focus on the processes underlying the development of attentional control and those underlying attentional difficulties, from their neural correlates to their outcomes on emerging cognitive abilities. Addressing these questions involves combining the study of typical attentional control with research on neurodevelopmental disorders of attention that affect molecular pathways and neural circuits involved in attentional control development: 1) disorders with a well-defined genetic aetiology (e.g., fragile X syndrome, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, sex chromosomal trisomies); and 2) complex behavioural syndromes of mixed aetiology (e.g., AD/HD).


Selected Publications

Scerif, G., Longhi, E., Cole, V., Karmiloff-Smith, A. & Cornish, K. (2012). Attention across modalities as a longitudinal predictor of early outcomes: The case of fragile X syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 641-50.

Scerif, G. & Steele, A. (2011). Neurocognitive development of attention across genetic syndromes: Inspecting a disorder’s dynamics through the lens of others. In O Braddick, G Innocenti, and J Atkinson (Eds.), Gene Expression to Neurobiology and Behavior: Human Brain Development and Developmental Disorders. Progress in Brain Research, 189, 285-301.

Scerif, G. (2010). Attention trajectories, mechanisms and outcomes: At the interface between developing cognition and environment. Developmental Science, 13, 805-12.

Astle, D.E., & Scerif, G. (2009). Using developmental cognitive neuroscience to study behavioural and attentional control. Developmental Psychobiology, 51, 107-118.

Scerif, G., Cornish, K., Wilding, J., Driver, J., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2007). Delineation of early attentional control difficulties in fragile X syndrome: Focus on neurocomputational mechanisms. Neuropsychologia, 45, 1889-98.

Scerif, G., Worden, M., Seiger, L., Davidson, M., & Casey, B.J. (2006). Context-driven attention modulates early stimulus-processing when resolving stimulus-response conflict. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 781-792.

Scerif, G., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2005). The dawn of cognitive genetics? Crucial developmental caveats. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3, 126-135.

Scerif, G., Cornish, K., Wilding, J., Driver, J., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2004). Visual search in typically developing toddlers and toddlers with fragile X or Williams syndrome. Developmental Science, 7, 116-130.


You can also find a full list of publications here


Teaching Responsibilities

I lecture Part 1 (2nd Year undergraduates), Part 2 (finalists) and MSc students in developmental psychology and the developmental cognitive neuroscience of attention and control. I supervise final year undergraduate students for their research projects and you can read about their experience here. I also tutor students across all years, both at St. Catherine's College and at other Colleges.

You can find my page at St. Catherine's College here