Usha Goswami

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Dr. Usha Goswami
Born(1960-02-21)21 February 1960
ResidenceUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
Known for
Contributions to cognitive development
2013 Fellow of the British Academy
Scientific career
FieldsNeuroscience (Cognitive)
InstitutionsSt. John's College, Cambridge

Usha Goswami is a researcher and professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and the director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at St. John's College, Cambridge. She obtained her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Oxford before becoming a professor of cognitive developmental psychology at the University College London. Goswami's work is primarily in educational neuroscience with major focuses on reading development and developmental dyslexia.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Usha Goswami received her Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with honors from the University of Oxford. Goswami then went on to receive her Post Graduate Certificate of Education from the University of London in primary education allowing her to become a teacher. In 1987 she received her D. Phil (Oxford's term for a Ph.D.) in developmental psychology from the University of Oxford with her main topics being reading and spelling by analogy. She then began her career working as a professor of Cognitive Developmental Psychology at the Institute of Child Health, University College London. In January 2003 she moved to the University of Cambridge where she currently works as the director for the Centre for Neuroscience in Education.[1]


Usha Goswami is currently the Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge. The Centre utilizes electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to study the developing brain. Some of her current research projects include the neural basis of developmental dyslexia, the neural basis of speech and language impairments, and the neural basis of rhythmic motor behavior.[2]

Dyslexia is a disorder in which the person affected has difficulty reading due to the reversal of letters in the brain that isn't linked to intelligence.[3] In people with dyslexia, the brain processes certain signals in a specific way making it a very specific learning difficulty. Dr. Goswami's research is concerned with focusing on dyslexia as a language disorder rather than a visual disorder as she has found that the way that children with dyslexia hear language is slightly different than others. When sound waves approach the brain, they vary in pressure depending on the syllables within the words being spoken creating a rhythm. When these signals reach the brain they are lined up with speech rhythms and this process doesn't work properly in those with dyslexia. Goswami is currently researching whether or not reading poetry, nursery rhymes, and singing can be used to help children with dyslexia. The rhythm of the words could allow the child to match the syllable patterns to language before they begin reading as to catch them up to where children without the disability might be.[4]

Honors and awards[edit]

Usha Goswami has received numerous awards and has served on several different committees over the years. Early in her career she was awarded the British Psychology Society Spearman Medal (for early career research excellence), the Norman Geschwind-Rodin Prize (a Swedish award for research excellence in the field of dyslexia), and received research fellowships from the National Academy of Education (USA), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany), and the Leverhulme Trust. She has served on the National Curriculum and the National Literacy Project, the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing in 2008, and the Managing Committee of the European Concerted Action on Learning Disorders as a Barrier to Human Development.[1] In 2013 she was 1 of 42 UK-based scholars that year to be selected to become a Fellow of the British Academy awarded to those with academic distinction in their research.[1][5] Goswami has also been a member of several research boards including the ESRC Research Grants Board (1998-2000), the Neurosciences and Mental Health Board of the Medical Research Council (1999-2003), and the Cross Board Group of the Medical Research Council (2001-2003).[1]


Key Publications[edit]

  • Huss M, Verney JP, Fosker T, Mead N & Goswami U (2011). Music, rhythm, rise time perception and developmental dyslexia: Perception of musical meter predicts reading and phonology. Cortex, 47, 674-89.
  • Beddington J, Cooper CL, Field J, Goswami U, Huppert FA, Jenkins R, Jones HS, Kirkwood TBL, Sahakian BJ & Thomas SM (2008). The mental wealth of nations. Nature 455: 1057-1060.
  • Goswami U (2006). Neuroscience and education: from research to practice? Nat Rev Neurosci 7(5):406-11.
  • Ziegler J & Goswami U (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: a psycholinguistic grain size theory, Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 3-29.[1]


  • Goswami, U (2014). Child Psychology: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Goswami, U (2010). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development: 2nd Edition. Blackwell Handbooks of Developmental Psychology.
  • Goswami, U (2010). Phonology, reading and reading difficulty. In K. Hall, U. Goswami, C. Harrison, S. Ellis and J. Soler (Eds) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy. London: Routledge.
  • Goswami, U (2008). Cognitive Development: The Learning Brain. Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis.
  • Cooper CL, Field J, Goswami U, Jenkins R, & Sahakian BJ (2009) (Eds.). Mental Capital and Wellbeing. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Goswami, U (2008). Cognitive Development: The Learning Brain. Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis.
  • Goswami, U (2006). Cognitive Development: Critical Concepts in Psychology. London: Routledge.
  • Goswami, U (2002 & 2004). Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development. Oxford: Blackwell.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Instituitional bio". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Professor Usha Goswami :: Cambridge Neuroscience". Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  3. ^ "Dyslexia: An Article by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity". Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  4. ^ "The last word on dyslexia?". Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  5. ^ "Fellowship of the British Academy: UK Associations for distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences - British Academy". Retrieved 2015-11-21.