Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Department of Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck, University of London
Dr. Natasha Kirkham (Birkbeck)
Prof. Daniel Richardson (UCL)
My research is focused on how noisy environments impact on learning during early development. More specifically, I’m looking at how noise influences young children’s ability to focus and sustain their attention on the important information in their environment, while ignoring and inhibiting the distracting information, as this skill is incredibly important for effective learning to take place. Furthermore, I’m interested in understanding how experience with in-home environmental noise levels, sensory processing abilities, and quality of sleep play a role in the relationship between environmental complexity and learning. These questions are important to address, as children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more at risk of being exposed to higher levels of neighbourhood noise.
My research will be using both a fixed eye-tracking system in the lab, as well as a portable eye-tracking system in daycare centres. I will also be using EEG simultaneously with eye-tracking to further unravel the mechanisms by which environmental noise impacts on the early development of learning at the neurological, cognitive, and behavioural level. This project will additionally involve using sound level meters to attain an accurate measure of the in-home noise levels that children experience, as well as using actigraphy to measure sleep quality and sleep patterns.
PhD Psychology, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck (2018 – present)
MSc Educational Neuroscience (Distinction), UCL Institute of Education & Birkbeck (2017 – 2018)
BSc Psychology & Human Development (Distinction), University of California Davis (2012 – 2016)
Research Assistant, Supervised by Marko Nardini, Developmental Science Research Group, Durham University (2016 – 2017)
Research Assistant, Supervised by Susan Rivera, Neurocognitive Development Lab, University of California Davis (2014 – 2016)
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 Psychology, 4252.
Negen, J., Chere, B., Bird, L., Taylor, E., Roome, H. E., Keenaghan, S., Thaler, L., Nardini, M. (2019). Sensory cue combination in children under 10 years of age. Cognition, 193, 104014.
Negen, J., Bou-Ali, L., Chere, B., Roome, H. E., Park, Y., Nardini, M. (2019). Coding locations relative to one or many landmarks in childhood. PLoS Computational Biology, 15(10), e1007380.
Conference Talks and Presentations
Chere, B., Serino, G., Haack, A., Kirkham, N. The impact of environmental noise on selective attention. Presented as a poster and data blitz session at the Attention & Memory in Development workshop, Magdeburg, Germany, September 2021. (Originally scheduled for March 2020 but rescheduled due to COVID).
Chere, B., Haack, A., Serino, G., Kirkham, N. The interplay between noise, sleep, and sensory processing. Poster presented at the Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, virtual, August 2021. (Originally scheduled for August 2020 but rescheduled due to COVID).
Chere, B., Serino, G., Kirkham, N. Measuring and understanding the interplay between in-home noise and the development of infant sleep and sensory processing. Poster presented at the Development and Motion Conference hosted by the Marie Curie MOTION network, Virtual, July 2021.
Chere, B., Serino, G., Haack, A., Kirkham, N. The effect of noise on cognitive development during infancy. Talk given at the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise, Virtual, June 2021.
Chere, B., Kirkham, N. How In-Home Noise may be Affecting Learning at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Flash Talk presented at the Society for Research in Child Development’s biennial conference. Virtual, April 2021.
Chere, B., Kirkham, N. How in-home noise is affecting adolescent learning within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poster presented at the Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development, Virtual, January 2020.
Chere, B., Haack, A., Serino, G., Kirkham, N. How is the impact of naturalistic noise on infant attention moderated by experience with in-home noise levels? Poster presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies, Virtual, July 2020.
Chere, B., Haack, A., Serino, G., Kirkham, N. The impact of noisy environments on visual attention during infancy. Poster presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies, Virtual, July 2020.
Chere, B., Haack, A., Kirkham, N. How in-home noise may be impacting attention and learning during infancy. Poster presented at Cognitive Psychology Section & Developmental Psychology Section's Joint Conference, Stoke on Trent, U.K., September 2019.
Chere, B., Kirkham, N. How noisy environments may be impacting selective attention and learning during infancy. Poster presented at the International Convention of Psychological Sciences, Paris, France, February 2019.
Chere, B., Barry, R., Rivera, S. Can infants learn better when their attention is guided by a social cue? Poster presented at the 27th Annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference, Davis, California, April 2016.
Awards and Funding
ESRC +3 PhD studentship (2018 – 2021): Fully funded studentship to cover PhD fees (£4,327), living expenses (£17k per annum), and research expenses (£2,250).
ESRC Advanced Quantitative Methods (2018): Funding towards gaining skills in quantitative methods (£2,250).
Summa Cum Laude (2016): Awarded for receiving highest honours on an undergraduate research dissertation.