Susan Gathercole

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Susan Elizabeth Gathercole OBE FBA is the Unit Director at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.[1] She is a research psychologist, best known for her studies into working memory deficits in children. She has worked extensively with Professor Alan Baddeley, the co-creator, along with Professor Graham Hitch, of arguably the most well-researched working memory model. In 2014 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[2]

Gathercole's findings have demonstrated the link between working memory deficits in children and poor academic performance. Furthermore, she has contributed to recent research showing that working memory deficits can be overcome with computerised, adaptive working memory training.[3]

Gathercole was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to psychology and education.[4]

Her work is being misinterpreted by the Office for the Office for the School Adjudicator [5], claiming that her research shows children sitting an 11+ test will not recall enough about the questions asked to be able to pass it on to late sitters so the tests can be reused safely for up to two years.


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  2. ^ "British Academy announces 42 new fellows". Times Higher Education. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  3. ^ Bergman Nutley, Sissela; Söderqvist, Stina (2017). "How Is Working Memory Training Likely to Influence Academic Performance? Current Evidence and Methodological Considerations". Frontiers in Psychology. 8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00069. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 5295142.
  4. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B12.