Professor Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon
Head of School
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5788
- Address: School of Psychology
Ridley Building 1
Queen Victoria Road
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU
Roles and Responsibilities
Head of School
BSc Hons Psychology University of Glasgow (1985-1989)
PhD Psychology University of Glasgow (1989-1995)
Researcher ESRC funded Human Communication Research Centre (University of Glasgow; University of Edinburgh (1989-1994).
Lecturer-Professor in Psychology, University of Stirling (1994-2010)
Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) Northumbria University, 2010-2014
Gwyneth has researched the visuo-spatial processing links between visual social cues and visual non-social information (as in mental imaging); how children adapt to different communication media (e.g. face-to-face versus live video links); and children's patterns of gaze as indicators of internal cognitive states like thinking and concentration. Her most recent work has investigated gaze aversion as cognitive load management in people with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and Williams syndrome. She has found that during difficult cognitive activity, for example remembering information, thinking of an answer to a question, planning what we are going to say, and speaking, we often close our eyes, look up at the sky, or look away from the person we are in conversation with. Gwyneth has led a 15 year research programme to investigate how and why children (typically and atypically developing) use gaze aversion when interacting with others. Amongst the results of this work are: that while face-to-face signals, like eye gaze and facial expressions, are often beneficial to communication, they carry a mental load which children and adults avoid under certain conditions, by averting their gaze. Of particular practical relevance is the finding that young children can be trained to use gaze aversion to optimise their problem solving performance. Children's patterns of gaze yield important clues to their thinking, concentration and mental processing that are useful to parents, teachers, psychologists and anyone engaged in assessing children's knowledge and development.
She has disseminated her research within sectors including the police, social workers, teachers, education services, primary health care workers, and counsellors. Gwyneth has contributed to national level training of police and child protection officers. Her work is influencing professional practice and is cited in the Home Office guidelines Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings.
- Gillespie-Smith K, Riby DM, Hancock PJB, Doherty-Sneddon G. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attend typically to faces and objects presented within their picture communication systems. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 2014, 58(5), 459-470.
- Collins K, Doherty-Sneddon G, Doherty MJ. Practitioner perspectives on rapport building duringchild investigative interviews. Psychology, Crime and Law 2014, 20(9), 884-901.
- Doherty-Sneddon G, Whittle L, Riby DM. Gaze aversion during social style interactions in autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities 2013, 34(1), 616-626.
- Riby DM, Doherty-Sneddon D, Whittle L. Face-to-face interference in typical and atypical development. Developmental Science 2012, 15(2), 281-291.
- Doherty-Sneddon G, Riby DM, Whittle L. Gaze aversion as a cognitive load management strategy in autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2012, 53(4), 420-430.
- Riby DM, Whittle L, Doherty-Sneddon G. Physiological reactivity to faces via live and video-mediated communication in typical and atypical development. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 2012, 34(4), 385-395.
- Riby DM, Doherty-Sneddon G, Whittle L. Face-to-Face Interference in Typical and Atypical Development. journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2011.
- Doherty-Sneddon G, Riby DM, Calderwood L, Ainsworth L. Stuck on you: Face-to-face arousal and gaze aversion in Williams syndrome. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 2009, 14(6), 510-523.
- Riby DM, Doherty-Sneddon G, Bruce V. The eyes or the mouth? Feature salience and unfamiliar face processing in Williams syndrome and autism. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2009, 62(1), 189-203.
- Riby DM, Doherty-Sneddon G, Bruce V. Atypical unfamiliar face processing in Williams syndrome: What can it tell us about typical familiarity effects?. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 2008, 13(1), 47-58.
- Riby DM, Doherty-Sneddon G, Bruce V. Exploring face perception in disorders of development: Evidence from Williams syndrome and autism. Journal of Neuropsychology: Special edition Face Perception 2008, 2(1), 47-64.