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Dr Leanne Thompson

Formerly at Lancaster University

Leanne Thompson

PhD supervision

Perception and information processing in "normal" or SEN / disabled groups. This could involve a focus on information presentation in a variety of modalities (vision, touch, audition etc.) or a focus on perceptual processes themselves(e.g. during reading). Alternatively the focus could be on perceptual processes resulting from various types of impairment (e.g. blindness, autism etc.). I'm particularly keen on exploring the educational implications (i.e. impact on learning & memory) of different types of information (visual, tactual, auditory etc.), whether this is due to a particular SEN or just preference.

Research Interests

My own research work to date has principally explored haptic object perception and representation in blind and visually impaired people and its relationship to visual object perception and haptic object perception in sighted people. From this work I am interested generally in theories of mental representation, in particular spatial representation and imagery. However, more specifically, I'm interested in the applied implications of this research, my work to date focussing on the application of this psychological knowledge to the design of tactual pictorial displays for blind people. I would like to explore further the usefulness of knowledge about information processing to the education of blind people in terms of developing educational materials and influencing teaching approaches. However I am also interested more broadly in the effects ofeducational materials on memory andlearning in all groups, in particular learning from visual and spatial information. I am also interested in perception and information processing in other special educational needs groups.

Recently I have become interested in issues surrounding transition in early years education, specifically the shift from the play-based curriculum of the Foundation Stage to the more formal National Curriculum at Key Stage 1. I am also interested in how smaller rural schools with mixed group classes and special educational needs schools deal with such transitions. I would like to apply cognitive psychology to issues in education by exploring play-based learning and its relationship to higher level cognition and linguistic competence. I am also interested in the implication of play-based approaches to teaching and learning on those with special educational needs.

I'm currently involved in a one-year project with Marion Walker, Gordon Clark and Duncan Whyatt in the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) funded by Lancaster University Friend's Programme exploring the ways in which students can increase their employability whilst broadening and expanding their student experience.

 

Current Teaching

Mainly cognitive psychology modules including perception and reading and text comprehension processes. I also run a module on the psychology of special educational needs and conduct first year undergraduate labsessions on research methods and statistics.

Additional Information

Research papers in preparation

Thompson, L. J., Ormerod, T. and Chronicle, E. P. (in preparation) Recognition by feeling the components: Mental representation of shape information in blind and sighted people.

Thompson, L. J., Parsons, M. (in preparation) Managing transition from the early years to school. Perceptions and practices of teachers in north east England.

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