Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas
Birkbeck, University of London · Department of Psychological Sciences

About

235
Publications
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Publications

Publications (235)
Article
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People with brain tumors, including those previously treated, are commonly affected by a range of neurocognitive impairments involving executive function, memory, attention, and social/emotional functioning. Several factors are postulated to underlie this relationship, but evidence relating to many of these factors is conflicting and does not fully...
Article
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Sleep problems show associations with negative outcomes in both physical and mental health in adolescents, but the associations may be reciprocal. We aimed to assess bidirectional associations between sleep problems and mental health symptoms including behavioural difficulties (internalising and externalising difficulties) and low health‐related qu...
Article
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Previous research has shown that cognitive development is sensitive to socio-economic status (SES) and multilinguistic experiences. However, these effects are difficult to disentangle and SES may modulate the effects of multilingualism. The present study used data from a large cohort of pupils who took part in the Study of Cognition, Adolescents an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cells from people with Down syndrome (DS) show faster accumulation of DNA damage and epigenetic aging marks. Causative mechanisms remain un-proven and hypotheses range from amplified chromosomal instability to actions of several supernumerary chromosome 21 genes. Plasma immunoglobulin G (IgG) glycosylation profiles are established as a reliable pre...
Article
Neuromyths are commonly held misconceptions about the brain believed by both the general public and educators. While much research has investigated the prevalence of myths about the typically developing brain, less attention has been devoted to the pervasiveness of neuromyths about neurodevelopmental disorders, which have the potential to exacerbat...
Article
Difficulties in processing humor have been associated with individuals with autism. The current study investigated whether humor comprehension and appreciation could be augmented in children with autism by providing contextual support suggesting that humor was to be expected. A verbally presented riddle task was used in which participants were asse...
Article
Background The use of digital technology such as mobile phones is ubiquitous in adolescents. However, excessive use may have adverse health effects, possibly partially mediated by disruptions to sleep. Objective This study aims to assess the social predictors of digital technology use and their cross-sectional association with BMI z scores and bei...
Chapter
Developing digital biomarkers that would enable reliable detection of autism–ASD early in life is challenging because of the variability in the presentation of the autistic disorder and the need for simple measurements that could be implemented routinely during checkups. Electroencephalography, widely known as EEG, is an electrophysiological monito...
Article
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The multidimensional structure of spatial ability remains a debated issue. However, the developmental trajectories of spatial skills have yet to be investigated as a source of evidence within this debate. We tested the intrinsic versus extrinsic and static versus dynamic dimensions of the Uttal et al. (2013, Psychol. Bull., 139, 352) typology in re...
Article
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Our understanding of how stress affects primary school children's attention and learning has developed rapidly. We know that children experience differing levels of stressors (factors that cause stress) in their environments, and that this can influence how they respond to new stressors when they occur in educational contexts. Here, we review evide...
Article
Developmental Language Disorder occurs in up to 10% of children and many of these children have difficulty retrieving words in their receptive vocabulary. Such word-finding difficulties (WFD) can impact social development and educational outcomes. This research aims to develop the evidence-base for supporting children with WFD and inform the design...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Use of digital technology such as mobile phones is ubiquitous in adolescents. However, excessive usage may have adverse health effects. OBJECTIVE We aimed to assess the social predictors of digital technology use and their association with body weight outcomes in a large cohort of adolescents. METHODS We used baseline data from a subse...
Article
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Spatial language is the language of spatial concepts and spatial relationships. Prior research has demonstrated an association between spatial language and spatial thinking in pre-school children. However, there is limited evidence exploring age-based differences in spatial language in older childhood. This cross-sectional study has three main aims...
Preprint
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Previous research demonstrates an association between spatial ability and science achievement in primary school aged children. However, little is known about the mechanisms driving this relationship. We therefore investigated the associations between children's spatial skills and components of physics learning (knowledge retrieval vs. conceptual kn...
Preprint
Full-text available
The multidimensional structure of spatial ability remains a debated issue. However, the developmental trajectories of spatial skills have yet to be investigated as a source of evidence within this debate. We tested the intrinsic vs. extrinsic and static vs. dynamic dimensions of the Uttal et al. (2013) typology in relation to spatial development. P...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence from cognitive neuroscience suggests that learning counterintuitive concepts in mathematics and science requires inhibitory control (IC). This prevents interference from misleading perceptual cues and naïve theories children have built from their experiences of the world. Here, we (1) investigate associations between IC, counterintuitive r...
Article
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Background Children with Down syndrome (DS) are at increased likelihood of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) relative to the general population. To better understand the nature of this comorbidity, we examined the visuo-attentional processes associated with autistic trait expression in children with DS, focusing specifically on attentional disengageme...
Article
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In this article, we focus on the causes of individual differences in Down syndrome (DS), exemplifying the multi-level, multi-method, lifespan developmental approach advocated by Karmiloff-Smith (1998, 2009, 2012, 2016). We evaluate the possibility of linking variations in infant and child development with variations in the (elevated) risk for Alzhe...
Article
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Importance: Risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) is particularly high for individuals with Down syndrome (DS). The ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE ε4) is associated with an additional risk for AD. In typical development, there is evidence that the APOE ε4 genotype is associated with an early cognitive advantage. Here we investigate associat...
Article
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In the COVID-19 crisis, the science of learning has two different responsibilities: first, to offer guidance about how best to deal with the impact of the current situation, including lockdown and home-schooling; and second, to consider bigger questions about what this large-scale educational experiment might mean for the future. The first part of...
Article
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Children’s acquisition of English past tense has been widely studied as testing ground for theories of language development, mostly because it comprises a set of quasi-regular mappings. English verbs are of two types: regular verbs, which form their past tense based on a productive rule, and irregular verbs, which form their past tenses through exc...
Article
In a large sample of children struggling to learn at school, a poor match was found between their cognitive profiles and their brain structure. Analyses of brain connectivity suggest network organisation is a better way to think about struggling learners.
Article
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Have you ever heard that we only use 10% of our brains? It is a nice thought that we could tap into hidden brain power—but could most of our brains really be doing nothing all day? No! Every bit of your brain is busy 24 hours a day. There are lots of these so-called neuro-myths floating around: ideas about the brain that sound true, but are not. Th...
Article
Despite Social Networking Sites (SNS) having a minimum age of 13, younger adolescents are using them. In this study, we examine self-reported overall SNS use and SNS use if awake at night in relation to Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL, measured by KIDSCREEN-10) and behaviour (measured by Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ) in 5229...
Article
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Background: Down syndrome (DS) is associated with variable intellectual disability and multiple health and psychiatric comorbidities. The impact of such comorbidities on cognitive outcomes is unknown. We aimed to describe patterns of physical health and psychiatric comorbidity prevalence, and receptive language ability, in DS across the lifespan,...
Preprint
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Les raisons de cette traduction partielle. Jérôme Alain Lapasset Psychomotricien D.E. Unité Socio-Cognition, C.H. le Vinatier, Bron. Les neurosciences de l'éducation occupent un terrain extrêmement polémique dans les sociétés occidentales. Portées au nues par les uns, décriées par les autres, elles génèrent parfois un enthousiasme quelque peu outr...
Article
Humor appreciation and understanding is important for children's social relationships. The current study examined the associations among riddle comprehension, riddle appreciation, and smiling/laughter in children from a wide age range (4-11 years) as well as how cognitive processing style relates to riddle comprehension. Style was distinguished bet...
Article
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There is evidence that spatial thinking is malleable, and that spatial and mathematical skills are associated (Mix et al., 2016; 2017; Uttal et al., 2013). However, few studies have investigated transfer of spatial training gains to mathematics outcomes in children, and no known studies have compared different modes of spatial instruction (explicit...
Article
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We used a population-level connectionist model of cognitive development to unify a range of empirical findings on the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on behavior and brain development. The model captured qualitative patterns of development in behavior and brain structure, including reductions in connectivity across development (gray matter,...
Article
We evaluate the potential of connectionist models of developmental disorders to offer insights into the efficacy of interventions. Based on a range of computational simulation results, we assess factors that influence the effectiveness of interventions for reading, language, and other cognitive developmental disorders. The analysis provides a level...
Article
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Williams Syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder associated with a specific cognitive profile of strengths and impairments. It has been argued that studying cognitive development of this disorder would not only allow improved knowledge of WS but also provide insight into alternative pathways in development. However, due to the rarity an...
Article
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The data presented in this article relate to the research article entitled “Night-time screen-based media device use and adolescents’ sleep and health-related quality of life” [1]. The present data reports findings from the investigation of the relationship between night-time screen-based media devices (SBMD) use and both sleep quality and health-r...
Article
From a psycholinguistic perspective of view, there are many cognitive differences that matter to individuals’ second-language acquisition (SLA). Although many computer-assisted tools have been developed to capture and narrow the differences among learners, the use of these strategies may be highly risky because changing the environments or the part...
Article
Dougherty and Robey (D&R) argue that the idea that neuroscience can have a direct impact in the classroom is ‘a bit far-fetched’ (p.401), following other commentators such as Bishop, 2014, and Bowers, 2016; and that investment of limited research funds in the cognitive and social psychological sciences is more worthwhile. In this commentary, I argu...
Article
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Spatial thinking is an important predictor of mathematics. However, existing data do not determine whether all spatial sub‐domains are equally important for mathematics outcomes nor whether mathematics‐spatial associations vary through development. This study addresses these questions by exploring the developmental relations between mathematics and...
Article
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Objective: The present study investigates the relationship between night-time screen-based media devices (SBMD) use, which refers to use within 1 h before sleep, in both lit and dark rooms, and sleep outcomes and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among 11 to 12-year-olds. Methods: We analysed baseline data from a large cohort of 6616 adoles...
Article
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Educational neuroscience is an interdisciplinary research field that seeks to translate research findings on neural mechanisms of learning to educational practice and policy and to understand the effects of education on the brain. Neuroscience and education can interact directly, by virtue of considering the brain as a biological organ that needs t...
Conference Paper
Deep neural networks, supported by recent advances in hardware and the availability of computational resources, have managed to outperform multilayer neural networks, with one or two hidden layers, producing impressive results in several difficult tasks. Nevertheless, training deep networks remains considerably challenging and there is lack of appr...
Conference Paper
Background/Aim: Sleep deprivation among adolescents has reached epidemic levels. In this study we investigated the associations between screen-based media device (SBMD) use and sleep and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Methods: We analysed baseline data from a large cohort of 6,616 adolescents from 39 schools in and around London, United K...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial scaling is the ability to transform distance information between shapes of differing sizes. Research on the developmental trajectories of spatial scaling beyond the preschool years has been limited by a lack of suitable scaling measures for older children. Here we developed an age-appropriate discrimination scaling task, and demonstrated th...
Poster
Abstract: Researchers in cognitive development have long debated whether the infant arrives in the world fitted with domain-general learning abilities, or learning abilities specific to particular cognitive domains – illustrated by the famous debates between Piaget and Chomsky on language acquisition. An intermediate position proposes that learning...
Conference Paper
Background/aim Mobile phone use in children and adolescents has steadily increased over the past decade, and public health concerns about the potential effects of exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields remain. The aim of the present study was to explore socio-demographic predictors of mobile phone ownership as well as call frequency and...
Article
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Background: Prior longitudinal and correlational research with adults and adolescents indicates that spatial ability is a predictor of science learning and achievement. However, there is little research to date with primary-school aged children that addresses this relationship. Understanding this association has the potential to inform curriculum...
Article
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Genetic syndrome groups at high risk of autism comorbidity, like Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome, have been presented as useful models for understanding risk and protective factors involved in the emergence of autistic traits. Yet despite reaching clinical thresholds, these ‘syndromic’ forms of autism appear to differ in significant ways from...
Article
Mobile phone use, predominantly smartphones, is almost ubiquitous amongst both adults and children. However adults and children have different usage patterns. A major challenge with research on mobile phone use is the reliability of self-reported phone activity for accurate exposure assessment. We investigated the agreement between self-reported mo...
Article
Mapping problems are typical research topics related to natural language learning, and they include not only classification mappings but also nonclassification mappings, such as verbs and their past tenses. Connectionist computational models are one of the most popular approaches for simulating those mapping problems; however, their lack of explana...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The study investigated the outcome of a word-web intervention for children diagnosed with word-finding difficulties (WFDs). Method: Twenty children age 6–8 years with WFDs confirmed by a discrepancy between comprehension and production on the Test of Word Finding-2, were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 11) and waiting control (n = 9...
Poster
This presentation reports on a study where a category sorting task was used to prime relational concepts in children prior to completing scene analogy tasks.
Article
In his recent critique of Educational Neuroscience, Bowers argues that neuroscience has no role to play in informing education, which he equates with classroom teaching. Neuroscience, he suggests, adds nothing to what we can learn from psychology. In this commentary, we argue that Bowers? assertions misrepresent the nature and aims of the work in t...
Article
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Background: Individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders like Williams syndrome and Down syndrome exhibit executive function impairments on experimental tasks (Lanfranchi, Jerman, Dal Pont, Alberti, & Vianello, 2010; Menghini, Addona, Costanzo, & Vicari, 2010), but the way that they use executive functioning for problem solving in everyday life h...