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Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, The Open University

Professional biography
Dr. Paul Ibbotson is a lecturer in Developmental Psychology at The Open University. Previously he worked as a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Child Study Centre, University of Manchester. He holds qualifications in Linguistics (MA; UCL) and Psychology (PGDip; Nottingham, PhD; Manchester).

Research interests
Paul’s research interests and expertise lie at the intersection between language and cognition. He has applied this interest to understanding how children learn language. His work reveals the deep connections between the linguistic system and general psychological processes such as attention, inhibition and memory. The aim is that we can build better models of child language development if we integrate their developing social and cognitive worlds as well.

Impact and engagement
By developing this line of research, the field of ‘developmental cognitive linguistics’ is revealing some fresh insights into how and why language develops the way it does. Paul has contributed to this by providing conceptual, analytical and methodological innovations. For example, using Google Ngram to answer questions about historical linguistics; developing an open-access child language analytic tool; providing models of how cognitive and social processes narrow the degrees of freedom on linguistic generalisations. He has communicated his research and the research of colleagues in his field to a general audience in popular science writing in The Guardian and Scientific American.


  • –present
    Lecturer, The Open University


  • 2010 
    University of Manchester , PhD