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Dr Caspar Addyman

Research Fellow

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Department of Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Phone: +44 (0)20 3073 8039
Fax: +44 (0)20 7631 6587
Email: c.addyman at bbk dot ac dot uk

Caspar guinea pig for NIRS

Research Interests

My research interests fall into three broad categories encompassing infant cognitive and social development, computational models of cognition and the use of computer games to collect rich data with high ecological validity.

My primary empirical work involves behavioural research with infants. My PhD investigated the earliest emergence of concepts and abstract reasoning in infancy. My post-doctoral work has looked at the statistical processes underlying language learning and how infants acquire a sense of time. Neural network models provide an excellent a framework for understanding learning and development. I am developing computational models of the various cognitive processes that I study. In addition, I will shortly be commencing a large scale survey of laughter in early childhood.

Finally, I develop computer game based testing as methodology for collecting rich and relevant data from a range of participants. In my PhD I wrote a 3D video game to test children’s category learning abilities. More recently, I have started an ambitious project to use smartphone games to track the cognitive and emotional affects of adult alcohol and drug use. See


Addyman, C. & Addyman, I. (2013) The science of baby laughter Comedy Studies 4(2) 143-153 [pdf]

Addyman, C. & Mareschal, D. (2013) Local redundancy governs infants' attention to visual-temporal sequences. Child Development, [pdf]

Addyman, C. & French, R. M. (2012) A manifesto on computational modelling in cognitive science Topics in Cognitive Science [pdf]

French, R.M, Addyman, C. & Mareschal, D. (2011) TRACX: A Recognition-Based Connectionist Framework for Sequence Segmentation and Chunk Extraction. Psychological Review, 118(4), 614-636 [pdf]

Addyman, C., French, R.M., Mareschal, D. & Thomas, E. (2011) Learning to perceive time: A connectionist, memory-decay model of the development of interval timing in infants. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 354-359). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [pdf]

Addyman, C. & Mareschal, D. (2010) The perceptual origins of the abstract Same/Different concept in human infants. Animal Cognition, Vol. 13(6): 817-833 [pdf - preprint]

Addyman, C.J.M. & Mareschal, D. (2006) Review of Rogers & McClelland (2004) Semantic Cognition, Connection Science, 18, 3, p.309 [ pdf - preprint]

Book chapters

Addyman, C. (in press). - Using smartphone games to research recreational drug use   In A. Waldstein (Ed.) Proceedings of the first Breaking Convention conference.

Thomas, M.S.C, Baughman, F.D., Karaminis, T. & Addyman, C (in press) Modelling developmental disorders. In C. Marshall (Ed.), Current Issues in Developmental Disorders, Psychology Press [pdf - final draft]


In my PhD, I studied the origins of concept formation in infancy. How do babies learn to find patterns and regularities in the world.. all these small furry animals are dogs, those ones are cats, this one specifically is Spot and this one Felix and collectively they're all pets. And they're also mammals, animals, things you might expect to meet in the home or see in cartoons. And having got all that sorted, you now have to learn to classify people, food, toys, furniture, vehicles, emotions, abstract relations. And all this while trying to learn a first language from scratch at the same. Gosh, it's complicated being a baby. No wonder they're bursting into tears all the time. You can learn more about it here.

Support for this research comes from European Commission Framework 6 NEST contract 516542.

Here's my full curriculum vitae.

Science communication

Participant/Performer in an Arts & Science cultural cross-over project:-

"An experiment of and under theatrical conditions" - Workshop & Performance - 12th & 15th May 2006, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London [ link ]

In March 2011 I took part the wonderful I'm a Scientist Get Me Out of Here event and have shown off the Boozerlyzer at Science Showoff.
I can also help you survive the Zombie apocalypse. [ link ]

Other projects

Help Yourself, A novel by Caspar Addyman

I run the Baby Laughter project. We're interested in what makes babies laugh and what it can tell us about their development.

I wrote a novel. It's called Help Yourself. It is about a comedian who can't tell jokes and a psychologist who writes a self help book saying you don’t need self help books. It's creative commons licenced, so you can just help yourself to a copy for FREE.

For many other things, mostly unrelated to developmental psychology, you may visit my personal website

I also run the An independent, non-profit organisation developing smartphone games to track the effects of drugs and alcohol.
This project is not affiliated with Birkbeck or the University of London.