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Professor Christopher Jarrold

Professor Christopher Jarrold

Professor Christopher Jarrold
M.A.(Cantab.), Ph.D.(Sheff.)

Professor of Cognitive Development

Area of research

Cognitive development

Office 1D24
The Priory Road Complex,
Priory Road, Clifton BS8 1TU
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8569


My research focuses on children’s cognitive development, and particularly on the processes that support goal-directed behaviour and the maintenance of information in immediate memory. These abilities in turn affect children’s control of behaviour, and aspects of their language learning and educational attainment. Although my work is based on a detailed understanding of typical development, much of it is applied to developmental conditions including autism, Down syndrome, and Williams syndrome. It therefore has both clinical and educational relevance, and has led to the development of information resources for educational professionals.


Recent and current grants

• Jarrold C. & Van ‘t Wout, F. ‘The development of procedural working memory’. Leverhulme Trust Project Grant. £193k, 36 months funding from January 2015.

• Jarrold C. & Smith, E. ‘Providing a novel framework to measure the key components of executive function in DS, with applications for efficient early clinical diagnosis of dementia’. Jerome Lejeune Foundation Grant.  €19k, 12 months funding from January 2015.

• Hall, D. & Jarrold C. ‘Making working memory work for educational psychologists’. ESRC Knowledge Exchange Scheme grant. £27k, 12 months funding from January 2014.

• Williams, D., Boucher, J., & Jarrold C. ‘Time-based and event-based prospective memory in autism: The roles of executive function and theory of mind’. ESRC research award.  £80k, 11 months funding from January 2011.

• Jarrold C. & Towse J. N. ‘The development of working memory’. ESRC research award. £460k (plus £52k grant-linked studentship), 36 months funding from January 2011.

• Bayliss, D. M., & Jarrold, C. ‘Memory consolidation and educational achievement in children’. Australian Research Council grant. AUS$ 150k, 36 months funding from January 2009.

• Oberauer, K., Farrell, S., & Jarrold, C. ‘Modeling working memory’. ESRC research award. 674k, 36 months funding from September 2008.


I completed a degree in Cambridge in 1990, followed by a Ph.D. on pretend play in autism in Sheffield, and then a post-doctoral position in Cambridge working on executive control in autism. I came to Bristol in 1996. I was Honorary Secretary of the Experimental Psychology Society from 2007 to 2010, and am a core member of the Bristol Autism Research Group. In 2000 I received the British Psychological Society’s Neil O’Connor Award for research in developmental disabilities, and in 2015 I was elected as the winner of the Experimental Psychology Society's 14th Mid Career Award.


Current Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate Units

  • PSYC 31027 Developmental Disorders of Communication

This is a third year course that attracts approximately 90 students.  I am the course coordinator and have full responsibility for all aspects of the unit, including giving all lectures (12 hours) and tutorials (8 hours) and carrying out all marking.  The lectures are supplemented by videoed material and in class demonstrations, and tutorials involve structured, student-led discussions.  Summative assessments are essay based, but the course also contains some formative assessment.


PHD students supervised and co-supervised

  • Liz Smith: 'The effects of interventions in improving verbal short-term memory performance in Down syndrome and the implications for verbal shortterm memory capacity', 2010-
  • Nena Adams: 'The validity of the Stroop task as a test of inhibition, and its relation to reading comprehension in children with autism', 2006-2010
  • Emma Mosse: 'The consequences of a verbal short-term memory in Down syndrome', 2005-2010
  • Catherine Ames: ‘Investigating the influence of central coherence and executive function on the putative precursors of autism’ 2003-2007
  • Harry Purser: ‘A neuropsychological approach to language and short-term memory in Down syndrome’, 2002-2006
  • Matt Brett: ‘The structure of executive functioning and its relation to intelligence’, 2000-2004
  • Yvonne Wren: ‘The development and evaluation of software for use in remediating phonological impairments in children’, 2000-2005 (includes period of suspended study)
  • Alex Bright-Paul: ‘Children’s eyewitness testimony’, 1998-2004 (includes period of suspended study)
  • Emily Farran: ‘Visuo-spatial cognition in Williams syndrome’, 1998-2001


  • Developmental Psychology
  • Memory


I am a psychologist whose primary focus is the development in children of cognitive abilities such as memory and thinking. Much of my research focusses on these abilities among children with learning difficulties, and conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, and Williams syndrome

  • autism
  • Williams syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Down's syndrome
  • children's memory development
  • children's cognitive development
  • pretend play
  • Links

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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