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Professor Claire Hughes

Professor Claire Hughes

Professor of Developmental Psychology

Fellow and Director of Studies at Newnham College, Cambridge

Directors of Studies Coordinator and Subject Convenor (PBS Tripos)


Office Phone: (+44) 01223 334517

Biography:

Claire Hughes completed her first degree and her PhD (on the topic of executive function in autism) at the University of Cambridge. She then spent two years in Paris as a post-doctoral research fellow, where she worked at the Hopital Robert Debre and INSERM at the University of Paris V, investigating executive functions in parents and siblings of children with autism. Returning to the UK, Claire worked for 6 years at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre where she collaborated with Professor Judy Dunn in two parallel studies of 'hard to manage' preschoolers and typically developing preschool friends. Claire then returned to Cambridge and joined the Centre for Family Research. For the past fifteen years, she has conducted a series of studies (funded principally by the ESRC) following up a socially diverse sample of children (recruited at age 2 and filmed at multiple time-points interacting with mothers, siblings, friends and unfamiliar peers) in order to examine the origins and consequences of individual differences in theory of mind and executive function for children's social relationships and adjustment to primary and secondary school. Dr Rosie Ensor was a key collaborator for the first 4 years of this longitudinal study; more recent waves have been conducted in collaboration with Dr Rory Devine, Dr Naomi White and Ms Sarah Foley. Her other studies include international collaborative investigations into theory of mind and executive function in children from different cultures as well as more applied work developing tools for teachers to identify children likely to benefit from extra support during the transition to school. In the past year, Claire and her team have launched a new international study (with collaborators in New York and the Netherlands) of the transition to parenthood and the role of early parent-infant interactions in mediating relations between prenatal wellbeing (in both fathers and mothers) and the early development of executive control and self-regulation. 

Keywords

cognitive development ; conduct problems ; autism spectrum disorders ; executive functioning and theory of mind ; antisocial behaviour

Key Publications

For access to PDFs of Claire's papers, please refer to her ORCID account: orcid.org/0000-0003-2545-3025

Papers in 2016-2017

White, N., Hughes, C. (2017) Why Siblings Matter: The Role of Brother and Sister Relationships in Development and Well-Being. To be be published by Psychology Press in 2017.

Devine, R.T., White, N., Ensor, R., Hughes, C. (2016) Theory of mind in middle childhood: Longitudinal associations with executive function and social competence. Developmental Psychology, 52 (5), pp. 758-771.

Devine, R.T., Hughes, C. (2016) Measuring theory of mind across middle childhood: Reliability and validity of the Silent Films and Strange Stories tasks. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 149, pp. 23-40.

Devine, R.T., Hughes, C. (2016) Family Correlates of False Belief Understanding in Early Childhood: A Meta-Analysis. Child Development, Article in Press.

Ellefson, M., Ng, F., Wang, Q., & Hughes, C. (2016). Efficiency of Executive Function: A Two-Generation Cross-Cultural Comparison of Samples from Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Psychological Science. Article in Press.

Hughes, C. (2016) Theory of mind grows up: Reflections on new research on theory of mind in middle childhood and adolescence. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 149, pp. 1-5.

Hughes, C., Devine, R.T. & Wang, Z. (2017) Does Parental Mind-Mindedness Account for Cross-Cultural Differences in Preschoolers’ Theory of Mind?  Child Development.  Article in press.

Hughes, C., Aldercotte, A., Foley, S. (2016) Maternal Mind-Mindedness Provides a Buffer for Pre-Adolescents at Risk for Disruptive Behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, pp. 1-11. Article in Press.

Roman, G.D., Ensor, R., Hughes, C. (2016) Does executive function mediate the path from mothers' depressive symptoms to young children's problem behaviors? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 142, pp. 158-170.

Wang, Z., Devine, R.T., Wong, K.K., Hughes, C. (2016) Theory of mind and executive function during middle childhood across cultures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 149, pp. 6-22.

Cassels, M., White, N., McGee, N. & Hughes, C. (2017) One of the family? Measuring early adolescents' relationships with pets and siblings. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

Papers in 2014-2015

Devine, R.T., Hughes, C. (2014) Relations between false belief understanding and executive function in early childhood: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 85 (5), pp. 1777-1794.

Ensor, R., Devine, R.T., Marks, A., Hughes, C. (2014) Mothers' Cognitive References to 2-Year-Olds Predict Theory of Mind at Ages 6 and 10. Child Development, 85 (3), pp. 1222-1235.

Healy, S.J., Murray, L., Cooper, P.J., Hughes, C., Halligan, S.L. (2015) A Longitudinal Investigation of Maternal Influences on the Development of Child Hostile Attributions and Aggression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44 (1), pp. 80-92.

Hughes, C. (2015) The transition to school. Psychologist, 28 (9), pp. 714-717.

Hughes, C., Daly, I., Foley, S., White, N., Devine, R.T. (2015) Measuring the foundations of school readiness: Introducing a new questionnaire for teachers - The Brief Early Skills and Support Index (BESSI). British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 (3), pp. 332-356.

Hughes, C., Devine, R.T. (2015) Individual Differences in Theory of Mind From Preschool to Adolescence: Achievements and Directions. Child Development Perspectives, 9 (3), pp. 149-153.

Hughes, C., White, N., Ensor, R. (2014) How does talk about thoughts, desires, and feelings foster children's socio-cognitive development? Mediators, moderators and implications for intervention. Contributions to Human Development, 26, pp. 95-105.

Lecce, S., Bianco, F., Devine, R.T., Hughes, C., Banerjee, R. (2014) Promoting theory of mind during middle childhood: A training program. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, pp. 52-67.

White, N., Ensor, R., Marks, A., Jacobs, L., Hughes, C. (2014)"It's Mine!" Does Sharing with Siblings at Age 3 Predict Sharing with Siblings, Friends, and Unfamiliar Peers at Age 6? Early Education and Development, 25 (2), pp. 185-201.

Wong, K.K., Freeman, D., Hughes, C. (2014) Suspicious young minds: Paranoia and mistrust in 8- To 14-year-olds in the UK and Hong Kong. British Journal of Psychiatry, 205 (3), pp. 221-229.

Papers from 2010-2013

Devine, R.T., & Hughes, C. (2013): Silent Films and Strange Stories: Theory of mind, gender and social experiences in middle childhood.  Child Development. 84, 989-1003.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12017/abstract;jsessionid=6EAF1EF433FF98ED8D2D9CBEA3D9DDEB.f03t02

Hughes, C., Roman, G., Hart, M.J & Ensor, R. (2013). Does Maternal Depression Predict Young Children’s Executive Function? A 4-year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 169-177.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpp.12014/abstract

Ensor, R., Roman, G., & Hughes, C., (2012) Mothers’ Depressive Symptoms and Low Mother-Toddler Mutuality Both Predict Children’s Maladjustment. Infant and Child Development, 21, 52-66.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/icd.762/abstract 

Ensor, R., Spencer, D., & Hughes, C. (2011). 'You feel sad?'  Emotion Understanding Mediates Predictors of Prosocial Behaviour: Findings from 2-to 4-years. Social Development. 20, pp. 93-110.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00572.x/abstract

Ensor, R., Hart, M., Jacobs, L., Hughes, C. (2011). Gender differences in children's problem behaviours in competitive play with friends. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, pp. 176-187.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-835X.2010.02016.x/abstract

Hughes, C., & Ensor, R. (2011). Individual Differences in Growth in Executive Function Across the Transition to School Predict Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors and Children's Self-Perceived Academic Success at Age 6. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (special issue on Executive Functions).108, 663-676.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096510001268

Hughes, C. & Ensor, R. (2011). Individual differences in false-belief understanding are stable from ages 3 to 6 and predict children's mental state talk with friends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 108, 96-112.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096510001608

Hughes, C., (2011). Changes and challenges in 20 years of research into the development of executive function. Infant and Child Development, 20 251-271.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/icd.736/abstract

Lecce, S., Caputi, M., Hughes, C. (2011). Does sensitivity to criticism mediate the relationship between theory of mind and academic achievement? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110 313-331.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002209651100124X

Ensor, R., Spencer, D., & Hughes, C. (2011). 'You feel sad?'  Emotion Understanding Mediates Predictors of Prosocial Behaviour: Findings from 2-to 4-years. Social Development. 20, pp. 93-110.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00572.x/abstract

Ensor, R., Hart, M., Jacobs, L., Hughes, C. (2011). Gender differences in children's problem behaviours in competitive play with friends. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, pp. 176-187.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-835X.2010.02016.x/abstract

Hughes, C., & Ensor, R. (2011). Individual Differences in Growth in Executive Function Across the Transition to School Predict Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors and Children's Self-Perceived Academic Success at Age 6. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (special issue on Executive Functions).108, 663-676.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096510001268

Hughes, C. & Ensor, R. (2011). Individual differences in false-belief understanding are stable from ages 3 to 6 and predict children's mental state talk with friends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 108, 96-112.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096510001608

Hughes, C., (2011). Changes and challenges in 20 years of research into the development of executive function. Infant and Child Development, 20 251-271.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/icd.736/abstract

Lecce, S., Caputi, M., Hughes, C. (2011). Does sensitivity to criticism mediate the relationship between theory of mind and academic achievement? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110 313-331.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002209651100124X

Ensor, R., & Hughes, C. (2010). With a Little Help from My Friends: Maternal Social Support, via Parenting, Promotes Willingness to Share in Preschoolers Born to Young Mothers. Infant and Child Development. 19, 127–141.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/icd.643/abstract

Ensor, R., Marks, A., & Hughes, C. (2010). Trajectories of antisocial behaviour towards siblings predict antisocial behaviour towards peers. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 51, 1208-1216.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02276.x/abstract

Hughes, C., Ensor, R., Wilson, A., & Graham, A. (2010). Tracking Executive Function Across the Transition to School: A Latent Variable Approach. Developmental Neuropsychology, 35, 20-36.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87565640903325691#.UlsDepX3AUs 

Hughes, C., Marks, A., Ensor, R. & Lecce, S. (2010). A Longitudinal Study of Conflict and Inner State Talk in Children’s Conversations with Mothers and with Younger Siblings. Social Development, 19, 822-837.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00561.x/abstract

Lecce, S., & Hughes, C. (2010). ‘The Italian job?’: Comparing theory of mind performance in British and Italian children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28, 747-766.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/026151009X479006/abstract