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Catherine Davies

Associate Professor in Language Development, University of Leeds

I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2011, focusing on how children learn to produce and understand names for objects. I then joined the University of Leeds, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. I lead the Leeds Child Development Unit, our child-friendly lab for studying language development.

My research focuses on the influence of children's language environments on their language and cognitive development. More broadly, my interests are in first language development, pragmatics, and psycholinguistics. I use experimental data to investigate pragmatic development, i.e. how children understand and produce meaning beyond vocabulary and grammar. I am currently focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns on child development.

To apply research findings to practice and policy, I work with a range of government and practitioner stakeholder groups (e.g. the Department for Education, the Welsh Government, Leeds City Council). My research-to-practice collaborations are primarily with educational and clinical practitioners.

I have methodological expertise in lab-based behavioural methods, eye tracking, corpus analyses, randomised controlled trials, and longitudinal studies.


  • –present
    Associate Professor in Language Development, University of Leeds