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Dr Josie Briscoe

Dr Josie Briscoe

Dr Josie Briscoe
B.Sc.(Dund.), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Senior Lecturer

Area of research

Developmental disorders of memory and language

Office 3D18
The Priory Road Complex,
Priory Road, Clifton BS8 1TU
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8458


My research goals seek to understand the interface between memory and language skills within children’s cognitive development, particularly for children with atypical development in language, memory and communication, and from a neurobiological perspective.   

One ongoing line of research (with David Skuse) grasps the challenge of identifying a heritable phenotype within semantic cognition, within a single multi-generational family – the JR family.   By using molecular genetics methods (with Katerina Kucera and Simon Fisher), we seek to identify genomic variants that potentially co-segregate with this novel and interesting phenotype.   Further to this, I am interested in the regulation of semantic cognition in children.

A second line of research probes lexico-semantic influences on immediate memory recall.  For example, I have probed list composition effects on children’s short-term memory (with Clive Frankish), dual-task effects on immediate story memory (with Anna Kapikian) and the learning and retention of ‘proto-words’ extracted through children’s exposure to statistical regularities in speech (with Sven Mattys).  An exciting new prospect is to understand how people retain meaning from stories, particularly when misinformed, by looking for neural signatures of recall in functional MRI (with Steve Lewandowsky, Ulli Ecker, Jade Thai and Jon Brooks).

A third line of research probes cognitive and perceptual elements of self and identity associated with language and communication disorders.  For example, I am interested face-voice associations (with Mallika Sen) and whether other-identity extracted from everyday percepts (faces and voices) conveys a symbolic benefit to children’s language? Or whether children’s construct of self (self-recognition) varies systematically with self-referential language in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders?



I received my first degree from University of Dundee (1992) before moving to the University of Bristol for research experience in the Department of Child Health. I completed my PhD at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol in 1998. Several years of post-doctoral experience followed at the University of Oxford (with Prof. D. Bishop) and at the University of Bristol (with joint collaboration with Prof. S. Gathercole and Prof. F. Khadem) before moving to a lectureship at Cardiff University (2002). I have recently been appointed as a new lecturer at University of Bristol (2005).


PHD students supervised

  • 2003 – L. Grayson; 1+3 ESRC funding, with A. Holcombe, Cardiff University
  • 2003 – R. Chilvers; CHRAT funding (joint supervisor with D. Skuse & T. Baldeweg, ICH, UCL)
  • 2010 - Mallika Sen
  • 2010 - Anna Weaver


  • Cognitive development
  • Working memory


One line of research addresses the locus and range of memory-related deficits observed in children at risk of developmental disorders of memory and language. In collaboration with F. Khadem, P. Rankin and S. Gathercole, we have been exploring the behavioural and neural correlates of memory and language impairments in children via the Routes Through Memory Project (Funded by The Wellcome Trust). A second line of research is concerned with communication deficits in children i.e. whether perceptual or cognitive impairments impede multi-sensory integration in children with communication deficits. The extent to which auditory perception impinges on working memory, language and literacy skills comprise my third line of research. Children with hearing impairments display relative integrity of reading and linguistic abilities, despite weak phonological skills (Briscoe, Bishop & Norbury, 2001).

  • developmental disorders
  • language impairment
  • working memory
  • episodic memory
  • event memory
  • memory
  • children with communication deficits
  • Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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