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Dr Gill Waters

PositionLecturer in Psychology
LocationRichmond Building, E4
Telephone+44 (0)1274 23 3508

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.

PhD Supervision

Completed PhD students

Nafeesa Sireer (Theory of Mind in young Pakistani children) 
Lisa Pepper (Body Image perception in young children)


Current PhD students

Elizabeth Milne (Parents understanding of the parent-infant relationship)

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Developmental Psychology (Year 2 and MSc core - Module Leader)

Advances in Child Development in Educational Contexts (Year 3 option - Module Leader)

Research Methods in Psychology (MSc core - Module Leader)

Personal Academic Tutoring

Undergraduate and Postgraduate



Year 3 projects

MSc dissertations


Administrative Responsibilities

Programme Leader MSc/PGDip in Psychology

UG Admissions tutor 

MSc Psychology Admissions tutor


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. (2015). Verbal information hinders young children's ability to gain modality specific knowledge. Infant and Child Development, 24(5), 538-548.
  • 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.

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