Thursday, 16 October 2014

Mad Hatter, Grey Matter Winter Talk Series

Thursday 13th November, 6.30pm – Cambo House

Mad Hatter, Grey Matter Winter Talk Series
On Thursday 19th February 2015, 6.30-8pm, Dr Lynne Duncan & Dr Conny Gollek, from the Languages & Learning Lab at Dundee University will share their research on language development
Tickets £3.00 to include a glass of wine
All cats are animals, but not all animals are cats – how children learn the meaning of words
Children naturally acquire the language spoken in their environment while growing up. They don’t have to be taught or even encouraged to try. Merely exposing them to social interactions enables most children to develop speech. Around the age of 12 months, infants begin to utter words and understand their meaning. They start with individual words, split into terms for objects, people, actions and social routines and rapidly acquire a large vocabulary.
But how children add meaning to an utterance is widely debated. How do they find out that the “cat” is the family cat and doesn’t mean “patting” (her head) or “scratch”. How do children then come to understand the family cat can be referred to as “the cat” or “Milly”? And how are even more complex relations like sister, daughter and cousin, when all applied to one person, mastered?
Research into word learning presents us with a variety of theories. One view is that children have an innate set of word learning principles which they apply to make sense of novel words. Another is that young children are early mind-readers, trying to read the context of conversation and the speaker’s reference to determine meaning. The talk is going to address these and further theories around children and their understanding and use of words.
Dr Lynne Duncan
After completing her undergraduate degree in the School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, Dr Duncan was awarded an MRC studentship to study for a PhD on the topic of developmental dyslexia. She has been conducting research and lecturing in the School of Psychology at the University of Dundee since 1999. In 2009, she held a post as a Visiting Lecturer in the Unité de Recherche sur l’Evolution du Comportement et l’Apprentissage at the Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3 in France
Dr Duncan’s current research takes a cross-linguistic perspective on language development in relation to visual word recognition and developmental dyslexia. Recent studies have investigated the influence of speech rhythm on phonological development and the relationship between orthographic depth and rates of reading acquisition in a wide range of European languages including Danish, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian Spanish and Swedish
Dr Conny Gollek
Dr Gollek’s general interest in research focuses on development in preschool children. She graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014 with a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Her research thesis was concerned with word learning effects in preschool children. Before this, she graduated with a First class Honours degree in Applied Psychology from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh in 2010, being awarded the Watt Medal.
Dr Gollek is currently employed as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Dundee. The project she is involved in aims to develop a measure to assess language and literacy in preschool children and examine the effectiveness of early interventions. The project runs in cooperation with Fife council and Education Scotland.
Advance Booking Required Call 01333 450054 or email

The third and final event of the Mad Hatter, Grey Matter Winter Series will take place in March and we are delighted to be offering a very fascinating and exciting conclusion to the first Winter Series.
On Saturday 14th March 2015, 2-5pm, Professor Ian Deary and Dr Robin Morton, from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing & Cognitive Epidemiology, Edinburgh University, will provide an afternoon of fascinating insight into The Living Brain
“The Living Brain”
Tickets £12 to include afternoon tea

There will be a showing of a short film /The Living Brain, which tells the inspiring story of William and Jean and their involvement in two unique studies of the ageing brain in Edinburgh (The Lothian Birth Cohorts 1921 and 1936). The film will be followed by a facilitated discussion about what the brain means to us, different kinds of intelligence which change differently with age and what the implications of this are for all of us. Some brain changes with age are inevitable, but there may be some things we can do to limit those changes
After the presentation, visitors will have the opportunity to test their own brains and interact with virtual and 3D printed brains from our brain box (@brainboxone <>).
Dr Robin Morton, Knowledge Exchange, Communications & Impact Manager, University of Edinburgh
Prof Ian J. Deary FBA, FRSE, FMedSci, is a Scottish psychologist known for work in the fields of intelligence, cognitive ageing, cognitive epidemiology, and personality.
Deary is Professor of Differential Psychology at The University of Edinburgh. He is Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and co-Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre
Advance Booking Required Call 01333 450054 or email
To stay up-to-date on these and other Mad Hatter, Grey Matter events please follow @MHGMFestival                         OR               Email