Dr Ruth Ford

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Brain & Cognition

Ruth studies the cognitive and social development of young children, focusing on memory, cognitive control, and social cognition. Her research encompasses both theoretical and applied projects.

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Ruth obtained her PhD from the University of New South Wales in 1991, followed by academic appointments at Cardiff University (1992-1994), Swansea University (1995-2006), and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia (2006-2013). She started work at Anglia Ruskin University in 2013.

Research interests

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  • Memory and memory development
  • Social cognition
  • Family influences on children’s cognitive development
  • The cognitive development of children born very prematurely
  • Embodied cognition in children

Ruth is a member of the following research areas:

These form part of our Brain and Cognition Research Group.

Ruth is also a member of our Autism Research Area which forms part of our Applied, Social and Health Psychology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

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  • Children’s memory, especially episodic memory and prospective memory
  • Children’s suggestibility and epistemic trust
  • Imitation and social cognition
  • Development of empathy
  • Early intervention

Find out more about our Psychology PhD.


  • PhD (Psychology), University of New South Wales

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Senior Fellow, the Higher Education Academy

Selected recent publications

Kvavilashvili, L. and Ford, R.M., 2014. Metamemory prediction accuracy for simple prospective and retrospective memory tasks in 5-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 127, pp.65-81.

Ford, R.M., 2014. Children’s thinking and cognitive development. In: Maynard, T., and Powell, S. (Eds.). An introduction to early childhood studies (third edition, pp.77-89). Sage Publications.

Macaulay, C.E. and Ford, R.M., 2013. Family influences on the cognitive development of profoundly deaf children: Exploring the effects of socioeconomic status and siblings. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18, pp.545-562.

Neumann, M., Hood, M. and Ford, R.M., 2013. Using environmental print to enhance emergent literacy and print motivation. Reading and Writing, 26, pp.771-793.

Ford, R.M., Driscoll, T., Shum, D. and Macaulay, C.E., 2012. Executive and theory-of-mind contributions to event-based prospective memory in children: Exploring the self-projection hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 111, pp.468-489.

Ford, R.M., Neulinger, K., Mohay, H., O’Callaghan, M., Gray, P. and Shum, D., 2011. Executive function in 7- to 9-year-old children born extremely preterm or with extremely low birth weight: Effects of biomedical history, age at assessment, and socioeconomic status. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 26, pp.632-644.

Ford, R.M., Lobou, S.N., Macaulay, C.E. and Herdman, L.M., 2011. Empathy, theory of mind, and individual differences in the appropriation bias among 4- to 5 year olds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, pp.626-646.

Ford, R.M., McDougall, S.P. and Evans, D., 2009. Parent-delivered compensatory education for children at risk of educational failure: Improving the academic and self-regulatory skills of a Sure Start pre-school sample. British Journal of Psychology, 100, pp.773-797.

Ford, R.M. and Lord-Rees, E., 2008. Representational drawing and the transition from intellectual to visual realism in children with autism. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, pp.197-219.

Shum, D., Cross, B., Ford, R. and Ownsworth, T., 2008. A developmental investigation of prospective memory: Effects of interruption. Child Neuropsychology, 14, pp.547-561.