Natasha Kirkham

Professor of Developmental Psychology

Professor of Developmental Psychology

President-Elect of the International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS)


Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development

Office: Room 515, Malet Street School of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London, London, WC1E 7HX

Phone: +44 (0)20 3926 1045



Research Interests

I am interested in the development of selective attention in infants and preschool age children. I am involved in two streams of research, one of which addresses the question of how infants learn about their environment with regard to the statistical regularities inherent in their perceptual world, and the other of which investigates the roles of attention and executive functions in young children. I employ several different methodologies in my research projects, using both corneal reflection eye-tracking and habituation/dishabituation with infants, executive function tasks with preschoolers/adults, and fNIRS recordings from infants.  Recent work has focussed on how the home environment impacts on the development of attention (e.g., noise, chaos).




LoBue, V., Pérez‐Edgar, K., Kirkham, N., & Herbert, J. (2023). The impact of COVID‐19 on infant development: A special issue of infancy. Infancy.

Tsuji, S., Amso, D., Cusack, R., Kirkham, N., & Oakes, L. M. (2022). Empirical Research at a Distance: New Methods for Developmental Science. Frontiers in Psychology, 3011.

Massonnié, J., Frasseto, P., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N.Z. (2022). Learning in noisy classrooms: Children’s reports of annoyance and distraction from noise are associated with individual differences in mind-wandering and switching skills. Environment and Behavior, 54, 58-88.

Massonnié, J., Frasseto, P., Ng-Knight, T., Gilligan-Lee, K., Kirkham, N., & Mareschal, D. (2022). Children’s effortful control skills, but not their prosocial skills, relate to their reactions to classroom noise. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(14), 8815.

Massonnié, J., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. Z. (invited, 2022). Individual differences in dealing with classroom noise disturbances. Mind, Brain, and Education

Chere, B., & Kirkham, N. (2021). The Negative Impact of Noise on Adolescents’ Executive Function: An Online Study in the Context of Home-Learning During a Pandemic. Frontiers in psychology12

de Mooij, S. M., Dumontheil, I., Kirkham, N. Z., Raijmakers, M. E., & van der Maas, H. L. (2021). Posterror slowing: Large scale study in an online learning environment for practicing mathematics and language. Developmental Science.

Amso, D., & Kirkham, N. (2021). A Multiple‐Memory Systems Framework for Examining Attention and Memory Interactions in Infancy. Child Development Perspectives15(2), 132-138.

Tierney, A., Gomez, J. C., Fedele, O., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2021). Reading ability in children relates to rhythm perception across modalities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology210, 105196.

De Mooij, S., M., M., Raijmakers, M., E., J., Dumontheil, I., Kirkham., N. Z., & van der Maas, H., L., J. (2020). Error detection through mouse movement in an online adaptive learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. DOI: 10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2729

 Massonnié, J., Frassetto, P., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N.Z. (2020). Learning in Noisy Classrooms: Children’s Reports of Annoyance and Distraction from Noise are Associated with Individual Differences in Mind- Wandering and Switching skills. Environment and Behavior.

Broadbent, H., Osborne, T., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. (2020). Are two cues always better than one? The role of multiple intra-sensory cues compared to multi-cross-sensory cues in children's incidental category learning. Cognition199, 104202.

Massonnié, J., Frasseto, P., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2020). Scientific Collaboration with Educators: Practical Insights from an in‐Class Noise‐Reduction Intervention. Mind, Brain, and Education.

Broadbent, Hannah, Tamsin Osborne, Natasha Kirkham, and Denis Mareschal. "Touch and look: The role of visual‐haptic cues for categorical learning in primary school children." Infant and Child Development 29, no. 2 (2020): e2168.

de Mooij, S. M., Kirkham, N. Z., Raijmakers, M. E., van der Maas, H. L., & Dumontheil, I. (2020). Should online math learning environments be tailored to individuals’ cognitive profiles? Journal of experimental child psychology191, 104730.

Anwyl-Irvine, A. L., Massonnié, J., Flitton, A., Kirkham, N., & Evershed, J. K. (2020). Gorilla in our midst: An online behavioral experiment builder. Behavior research methods52(1), 388-407.

Werchan, D. M., Lynn, A., Kirkham, N. Z., & Amso, D. (2019). The emergence of object‐based visual attention in infancy: A role for family socioeconomic status and competing visual features. Infancy24(5), 752-767.

Kirkham, N. Z., Rea, M., Osborne, T., White, H., & Mareschal, D. (2019). Do cues from multiple modalities support quicker learning in primary schoolchildren?. Developmental Psychology.

Massonnié, J., Rogers, C. J., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2019). Is classroom noise always bad for children? The contribution of age and selective attention to creative performance in noise. Frontiers in psychology10, 381.

Broadbent, H. J., Osborne, T., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2019). Withstanding the test of time: Multisensory cues improve the delayed retention of incidental learning. Developmental science22(1), e12726.

Peng, A., Kirkham, N. Z., & Mareschal, D. (2018). Task switching costs in preschool children and adults. Journal of experimental child psychology172, 59-72.

Peng, A., Kirkham, N. Z., & Mareschal, D. (2018). Information processes of task-switching and modality-shifting across development. PloS one13(6).

Saffran, J. R. & Kirkham, N. Z. (2018). Infant statistical learning.  Annual Review of Psychology, 69.

Broadbent, H.J., Osborne, T., Rea, M., Peng, A., Mareschal, D., and Kirkham, N.Z. (2017). Incidental category learning and cognitive load in a multisensory environment across childhood.  Developmental Psychology

Xiao, N. G., Wu, R., Quinn, P. C., Liu, S., Tummeltshammer, K. S., Kirkham, N.Z., Ge, L., Pascalis, O,  & Lee, K. (2017). Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty. Child Development.

Broadbent, H., White, H., Mareschal, D., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2017). Incidental learning in a multisensory environment across childhood. Developmental Science.

Tummeltshammer, K. S, Amso, D., French, R., & Kirkham, N. Z. (2016). Across space and time: Infants learn from backward and forward visual statistics. Developmental Science.

Jeste, S.S. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Senturk, D. and Hasenstab, K. and Sugar, C. and Kupelian, C. and Baker, E. and Sanders, A.J.and Shimizu, C. and Norona, A. and Paparella, T. and Freeman, S.F.N. and Johnson, S.P. (2015) Electrophysiological evidence of heterogeneity in visual statistical learning in young children with ASD. Developmental Science 18 (1), pp. 90-105. ISSN 1363-755x.

Tummeltshammer, Kristen S. and Wu, Rachel and Sobel, D.M. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2014) Infants track the reliability of potential informants. Psychological Science 25 (9), pp. 1730-1738. ISSN 0956-7976.

Tummeltshammer, K.S. and Mareschal, Denis and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2014) Infants' selective attention to reliable visual cues in the presence of salient distractors. Child Development 85 (5), pp. 1981-1994. ISSN 0009-3920.

Papageorgiou, Kostas A. and Smith, Tim J. and Wu, Rachel and Johnson, Mark H. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Ronald, Angelica (2014)Individual differences in infant fixation duration relate to attention and behavioral control in childhood. Psychological Science 25 (7), pp. 1371-1379. ISSN 0956-7976.

Wu, Rachel and Tummeltshammer, Kristen S. and Gliga, Teodora and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2014) Ostensive signals support learning from novel attention cues during infancy. Frontiers in Psychology 5 , ISSN 1664-1078.

Barker, Edwards D. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Ng, J. and Jensen, S.K.G. (2013) Prenatal maternal depression symptoms and nutrition, and child cognitive function. The British Journal of Psychiatry 203 (6), pp. 417-421. ISSN 0007-1250.

Tummeltshammer, K.S. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2013) Learning to look: probabilistic variation and noise guide infants' eye movements. Developmental Science 16 (5), pp. 760-771. ISSN 1363-755x.

Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Richardson, D.C. and Wu, Rachel and Johnson, S.P. (2012) The importance of "what": infants use featural information to index events. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 113 (3), pp. 430-439. ISSN 0022-0965.

Richardson, D.C. and Street, C.N.H. and Tan, J.Y.M. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Hoover, M.A. and Ghane Cavanaugh, A. (2012) Joint perception: gaze and social context. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6 , ISSN 1662-5161.

Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Wagner, J.B. and Swan, Kristen A. and Johnson, S.P. (2012) Sound support: intermodal information facilitates infants’ perception of an occluded trajectory. Infant Behavior and Development 35 (1), pp. 174-178. ISSN 0163-6383.

Sobel, D.M. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2012) The influence of social information on children's statistical and causal inferences.Advances In Child Development and Behavior 43 , pp. 321-350. ISSN 0065-2407.

Wu, Rachel and Gopnik, A. and Richardson, D.C. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2011) Infants learn about objects from statistics and people.Developmental Psychology 47 (5), pp. 1220-1229. ISSN 0012-1649.

Dale, R. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Richardson, D.C. (2011) The dynamics of reference and shared visual attention. Frontiers in Psychology 2 (355), ISSN 1664-1078.

Wu, Rachel and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2010) No two cues are alike: depth of learning during infancy is dependent on what orients attention. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 107 (2), pp. 118-136. ISSN 0022-0965.

Johnson, S.P. and Fernandes, K.J. and Frank, M.C. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Marcus, G. and Rabagliati, H. and Slemmer, J.A. (2009)Abstract rule learning for visual sequences in 8- and 11-month-olds. Infancy 14 (1), pp. 2-18. ISSN 1525-0008.

Sobel, D.M. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2007) Bayes nets and babies: infants’ developing statistical reasoning abilities and their representation of causal knowledge. Developmental Science 10 (3), pp. 298-306. ISSN 1363-755x.

Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Slemmer, J.A. and Johnson, S.P. (2002) Visual statistical learning in infancy: evidence for a domain general learning mechanism. Cognition 83 (2), B35-B42. ISSN 0010-0277.

Canfield, R.L. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2001) Infant cortical development and the prospective control of saccadic eye movements.Infancy 2 (2), pp. 197-211. ISSN 1525-0008.


Book Section

Wu, Rachel and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2012) Learning (to Learn) from spatial attention cues during infancy. In: Miyake, N. and Peebles, D. and Cooper, Richard P. (eds.) Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, Texas, USA: Cognitive Science Society, pp. 1161-1166. ISBN 9780976831884.

Wu, Rachel and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Swan, Kristen A. and Gliga, Teodora (2011) Infants use social signals to learn from unfamiliar referential cues. In: Carlson, L. and Hoelscher, C. and Shipley, T.F. (eds.) Expanding the Space of Cognitive Science: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive cience Society. Austin, Texas, USA: Cognitive Science Society. ISBN 9780976831877.

Wu, Rachel and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Swan, Kristen A. and Gliga, Teodora (2011) Social signals scaffold learning from novel cues during infancy. In: Kokinov, B. and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Nersessian, N. (eds.) European Perspectives on Cognitive Science.Sofia, Bulgaria: New Bulgarian University Press. ISBN 9789545356605.

Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2010) All together now: learning through multiple sources. In: Johnson, S.P. (ed.) Neoconstructivism: the new science of cognitive development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 32-44. ISBN 9780195331059.

Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2010) Altogether now: learning through multiple sources. In: Johnson, S.P. (ed.) Neoconstructivism: The new science of cognitive development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195331059.

Wu, Rachel and Gopnik, A. and Richardson, D.C. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2010) Social cues support learning about objects from statistics in infancy. In: Ohlsson, S. and Catrambone, R. (eds.) Cognition in Flux: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, Texas, USA: Cognitive Science Society, pp. 1228-1233. ISBN 9780976831860.


Conference or Workshop Item

Wu, Rachel and Yu, C. and Smith, L.B. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. and Yurovsky, D. (2011) Model selection for eye movements: assessing the role of attentional cues in infant learning. In: 12th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop, 8-10 Apr 2010, London, UK.