News

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    Ruihan attended the Kinds of Mindreading Graduate Conference on Theory of Mind on 6th February 2021. She gave a talk entitled ‘Do Autistic Adults Spontaneously Reason False and True Beliefs?’. The day-long virtual event was hosted by the Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning (ECOM) research group at the University of Connecticut. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from like-minded peers and experts, and to familiarise ourselves with the latest advances in mentalizing research.

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    In February 2021, Advance HE (formerly the British Professional Society known as the Higher Education Academy) rewarded David Ruttenberg with an Associate Fellowship.

    Fellowship is awarded to professionals who demonstrate they meet the criteria of Descriptor 2 (D2) of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education.

    As a Fellow of HEA, David engages in a broad understanding of effective approaches to learning and teaching support as a key contribution to high quality student learning. At UCL, he demonstrates his personal and institutional commitment as both: (i) a Post Graduate Teaching Assistant and Guest Lecturer for UCL’s Institute of Education and Digital Media Master’s Programme, and (ii) a Content Developer for UCL’s EdD Programme.

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    The DevDivLab is pleased to say hello to Hannah, fresh off her MSc in Psychological Sciences from UCL. She joins the lab as a Research Assistant, taking over from Malwina, and will be working on the Royal Society funded project looking at in-group v/s out-group effects in mentalizing. With a background in Neuroscience, we look forward to the new skills that Hannah brings to the team. Welcome!

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    There has been plenty of personnel changes in the DevDivLab this summer.

    After nearly two years as a DevDivLab Research Assistant, we said so long to Malwina Dziwisz who is embarking on her next career with the NHS. Malwina joined the lab in 2018 with a particularly interest in cognitive functioning in children with congenital disorders and acquired illnesses, as well as their accompanying mental health. Malwina’s contributions were plentiful and she will be sorely missed.

    Relatedly, DevDivLab hosted three summer students, Olivia Dziwisz, a second year medical student, and Mizuki Tojo and Begum Arin, both second year psychology students, and all of whom participated on Executive Function & Double Empathy Projects.

    All of us at the DDL will miss you Malwina, Olivia, Mizuki and Begum and we wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

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    We’re delighted that David has been upgraded from MPhil to PhD with his “SensorAble Project: A multi-sensory, assistive technology that filters distractions and increases focus for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition”. Congratulations David!

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    Kat has published her paper Scaling of early social cognitive skills in typically developing infants and children with autism spectrum disorders in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

    This paper describes a research tool to investigate the development of mindreading skills in children with no or minimal speech. She found that, although autistic children passed tasks assessing intention reading and cooperation in the same order as children without autism, their performance on tasks, where they needed to follow another person’s gaze and cooperate with others, was delayed. This is the first study to explore the developmental progression of these early skills and hopefully the tool can be used to better understand social difficulties even in very young or disabled children.

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    DevDivLab PhD student David Ruttenberg has been busy conveying, speaking and attending various conferences and workshops including the UCL Centre for Doctoral Education (CDE) Summer Conference 2020 as lead-off presenter for the SensorAble project. Additionally, the Centre for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at Florida Atlantic University invited David to address their Board of Directors regarding SensorAble’s Participant Public Information study. Lastly, the Artificial Intelligence for Prostate Cancer (AI4PCa) – a joint workshop between the University of Toronto and UCL – invited David to present on “Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support for Cancer Patients”.

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    Our lab welcomes three lovely summer students who will join our lab for 8 weeks.

    Begum (2nd year Psychologist, UCL), Mizuki (2nd year Psychologist, UCL) and Oliwia (2nd year Medic, University of Oxford) will be working on various projects in our lab, helping out with our new and temporary norm – remote testing! Although they join us in a not so typical lab environment, we hope they enjoy their time and pick up some useful skills.

    Welcome Begum, Mizuki and Oliwia!

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    Back in March, the country went into lockdown to help our NHS battle COVID-19. Since then, the DevDivLab has been spread across continents, and our meetings have all moved to Zoom. But that has not slowed us down! The Lab is still moving forward with projects as we are learning how to fully operate online.

    We are looking forward to UCL re-opening and being back in our building, but in the meantime, we hope everyone is well, and stays safe!

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    UCL’s Institute of Education recently conducted an interview with DDL member David Ruttenberg in which he addresses his research and supervisors Prof Kaśka Porayska-Pomsta, Dr Joni Holmes and DDL Director Dr Sarah White .

    I do hope that this promotion helps emphasize the importance and stature of UCL’s work toward developmental diversity. It is an equally great “get” for the Centre for Doctoral Education, the Culture, Communication and Media department, the Knowledge Lab and UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and in particular, the Development Diversity Lab. I enjoy promoting our leaders and colleagues whenever and wherever possible. Congratulations to David and all at the DDL!