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Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) Research Laboratory

The Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) Lab at the University of Central Lancashire is a multidisciplinary research team bringing together experts in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology and other disciplines. The lab has close links with the Group of Cognition and Neuroscience, Forensic Centre and Quality of Life Group at the School of Psychology.

The mission of the DCN Lab is to understand the interaction of cognitive, social and affective aspects of typical and atypical development with the ultimate aim to translate basic research into clinical and educational practice and improve the quality of life of children, young people and their families.

Developmental research at the School of Psychology is supported by state-of-the-art facilities including a Child Observation Suite. The School of Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire hosts Tobii and Eye link 1000 eye trackers, a Health Psychology Suite and other facilities including electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD).

The DCN Lab has links with leading international universities as well as local hospitals, services and schools. We work closely with the University of Manchester, the University of Liverpool and Lancaster.

Find out more in a short video about our Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab  and visit our Lab Blog to find out more about our DCN Lab.

Research in our lab encompasses a range of topics in Developmental Neuroscience.  Our overall research aim is to develop a better understanding of typical and atypical socio-cognitive processes underlying developmental outcomes and translate this knowledge to real-life applications enhancing resilience in children and young people and reducing the risk for psychopathology.

The DCN Lab consists of a Social and Affective Neuroscience research stream and a Cognitive Neuroscience research stream.

Developmental Social and Affective Neuroscience

Our affective neuroscience research programme focuses on the neurobiology of social cognition and emotion processing in typical and atypical development. Our research aims to understand the neural basis of emotion and reward processing in neurodevelopmental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our ultimate aim is to utilise this knowledge to inform preventive intervention and promote positive mental health in the young.

Our social neuroscience research programme aims to understand the neurobiological processes of social interactions in children and young people and how they link to different developmental outcomes. An important focus of our social neuroscience programme includes childhood and adolescence loneliness.

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Our cognitive neuroscience research programme cuts across a number of topics including cognitive development, the development and use of language and nonverbal communication in children and young people. Research in our lab investigates how speech and gesture come together to form language during development and how multimodal interaction advances our understanding of cognition and language. We are also interested in the development of implicit learning and second language learning in children. Our research has implications for educational settings and can contribute to our understanding of impairments in cognition and language.

We publish high quality research in peer-reviewed international academic journals. A list of our research output and related impact can be found on our Lab members’ staff profile pages.

For our research publications please visit our members’ staff profile pages.

We hold lab meetings fortnightly at the School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire.

We organise a number of seminars and public engagement activities aiming to engage children and young people in science. We have links with the University of Central Lancashire and Royal Institution Young Scientist Centre based at the School of Psychology Darwin building, a state-of-the-art laboratory which provides interactive workshops and hands-on experience in science for young people in the North West. We also organise a number of outreach activities for schools and families in the Lancashire Science Festival.

Visit our Lab blog for future event updates!

DCN Lab members

Georgia Chronaki

Georgia set up and co-directs the DCN Lab. Georgia’s research interests are in the area of Developmental Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology. More information on Georgia’s research can be found in Georgia’s staff profile 

Pamela Qualter

Pamela co-directs the DCN Lab. Pamela is a Reader in Developmental Psychology and a world expert in childhood and adolescence loneliness. More information on Pamela’s research can be found in Pamela’s staff profile.

Kathryn Gardner

Kathryn is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology and an expert in emotional intelligence (EI). More information on Kathryn’s research can be found in Kathryn’s staff profile.

Reyhan Furman

Reyhan is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Cognition and the goal of her research is to understand how speech and gesture interact with and shape each other. More information on Reyhan’s research can be found in Reyhan’s staff profile.

Nadiia Denhovska

Nadiia is a Lecturer in Developmental Cognition and her research interests are in the area of language acquisition, bilingualism and implicit learning. More information on Nadiia’s research can be found in Nadiia’s staff profile.

Charlotte Field

Charlotte is a Lecturer in Developmental Disorders with a particular focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). More information on Charlotte's research can be found in Charlotte's staff profile.

Lea Pilgrim

Lea is a Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience and the Academic Lead of the Brain Imaging Laboratory housing state-of the-art EEG facilities at the School of Psychology. More information on Lea’s research can be found in Lea’s staff profile.

Technical Support

Belinda Fay Hornby

Belinda has a first degree in Biochemistry from Newcastle University, a PhD in Psychology and graduate diploma in Psychology from UCLan. Belinda’s interests are in psychophysiology, psychopharmacology, behavioural neuroscience and research methods. Belinda is a Senior Technician and an expert in the operation of psychobiological and neuroscience equipment.

Contact Details

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) Lab
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
School of Psychology
Darwin Building
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1772 894454

Research Projects

Members of the lab are actively engaged in numerous high profile research activities. Current research projects focus on the neural correlates of emotion processing in typical and atypical development including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Related research projects focus on loneliness, social cognition and aggressive behaviour in young people. Additional research projects investigate the neural basis of nonverbal communication and implicit learning in children. Our research also examines facial emotion recognition and emotion dysregulation in individuals with subclinical levels of borderline personality disorder traits.

Visit our Lab blog for updates on current and future projects!

Take part in a project

We are looking to recruit children and young people aged 4-18 to take part in our projects. Our studies can involve brain-based experiments, computer games, questionnaires and other tasks.

We will provide detailed information about the study before you decide if you would like to take part. We will keep the data we collect strictly confidential.

If you like to take part in one of our studies we can give you a picture of your brain waves to keep!

If you would like to participate or find out more about our studies please call +44(0)1772 894454 or e-mail


If you take part in one of our research projects, you will receive a newsletter to let you know about the results of our research. Visit our blog for future updates about our research!