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Dr Gill Waters

PositionLecturer in Psychology
LocationRichmond Building, E4
Academic SchoolSchool of Social and International Studies
Department or DivisionPsychology
Telephone+44 (0)1274 23 3508

Download contact card.

Research Interests (key words only)

Young children's cognitive development: understanding of knowledge states; Theory of Mind; the development of categorisation abilities; language comprehension; the development of sentimental thinking.

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Cognitive Psychology (Module Leader)
Developmental Psychology (Co-Module Leader)
Personal Tutor (Year 1 and 2)
Year 3 project supervision

Research Methods in Psychology (Lecturer)
MSc project supervision

Current PhD students
Nafeesa Sireer: “Theory of Mind, perceived acceptance/ rejection, and psychological
adjustment among children with ADHD” (Primary supervisor)
Lisa Pepper: “Young children’s cognitive perceptions of body size” (Primary supervisor)
Sarah Jones: “Investigating ‘extreme female’ cognition” (Associate supervisor) 

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Admissions Tutor
  • Coordinator of the Research Studentship Scheme


I am a cognitive developmental psychologist and my main area of interest is young children’s metacognition (how they think about what they know). I worked in a variety of jobs before I began my BSc in Psychology as a part-time mature student with The Open University in 1999. I then became a full time doctoral student at the University of Birmingham in 2005. I joined the Division of Psychology at the University of Bradford as a lecturer in 2009.

Study History

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology (Open University, 2005)
  • PhD Psychology (University of Birmingham, 2009)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher education Practice (University of Bradford, 2011)

Professional Activities

Joint convenor for the Bradford Cognition and Brain Group.

Selected invited talks:

  • "It feels red!: Young children’s difficulty understanding aspectuality" (2010). University of Bradford, Optometry Research Group.
  • "The limits of young children’s understanding of aspectuality" (2009). University of Birmingham, Language and Cognition Seminar Group.

Research Areas

I am broadly interested in young children’s understanding of knowledge states. My PhD research focused on 4- to 7-year-old children’s understanding of aspectuality (the acquisition of knowledge through perceptual actions). My other research interests include young children’s understanding of: Theory of Mind (how others’ thoughts and beliefs differ from one’s own); the categorisation of people and things; emotional beliefs and sentimental attachments to objects.

Current Projects

  • Is young children’s understanding of “which one” dependent on comparison or communication abilities? (Funded by the Nuffield Foundation Small Grants Scheme)
  • Member of the CLAHRC 2 steering group with the Bradford Institute of Health Research
  • The developmental of young children’s sentimental attachment to gifted objects.
  • Young children’s memory for conflicting gender-occupation roles.

Research Collaborations

Member of the CLAHRC 2 steering group with the Bradford Institute of Health Research



Journal Articles:

  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (under review at Infant and Child Development) Verbal information hinders young children's ability to gain modality specific knowledge.
  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (2012), How should we question young children's understanding of aspectuality? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 376-392.
  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (2009). The development and robustness of young children’s understanding of aspectuality. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 103, 108-114.
  • Hutter, R. R. C., Crisp, R. J., Humphreys, G. W., Waters, G. M., & Moffitt, G. (2009). The dynamics of category conjunctions. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 12 (5), 673-686.

Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

Conference presentations:

  • Waters, G. M., & Marks, G. (2012). Personal Development Planning: Facilitating student reflection on experiences. Oral presentation at the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Bradford.
  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (2010). Does demonstrating understanding of aspectuality depend on how the question is worded? Oral presentation at the British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, Goldsmiths College, University of London.
  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (2007). The influence of information access on young children’s understanding of sources of knowledge. Oral presentation at the European Society for Philosophy & Psychology Conference, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Waters, G. M., & Beck, S. R. (2007). Young children’s ability to select between sensory modalities and ignore ambiguous information. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Boston, USA.