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Professor Claire Hughes

Professor Claire Hughes

Professor of Developmental Psychology

Fellow and Director of Studies at Newnham College, Cambridge

Director of Undergraduate Education (PPS Tripos)


Office Phone: (+44) 01223 334517

Biography:

Claire Hughes completed her first degree and her PhD at the University of Cambridge (on the topic of executive function in autism, supervised by Dr James Russell and funded by the Medical Research Council). She then spent two years in Paris as a post-doctoral research fellow (funded by the Fyssen Foundation) 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 (as an MRC research fellow and lecturer) 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 moved to Cambridge and joined the Centre for Family Research. For the past decade, she has conducted a series of studies (funded by the Health Foundation and 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, Ms Naomi White and Ms Sarah Foley. More recently, she has begun to conduct international studies of theory of mind and executive function in children from different cultures and to develop tools for teachers to identify children likely to benefit from extra support during the transition to school. These more recent studies have been funded by the ESRC, the Isaac Newton Trust, the Westminster Foundation and the Early Years Foundation Trust.  Key collaborators for these studies are Dr Rory Devine, Dr Michelle Ellefson, Dr Irenee Daly, Ms Nao Fujita, Ms Naomi White and Ms Sarah Foley.

Keywords

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

Key Publications

Journal articles from 2010-2013

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

 

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., 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 

 

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