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Elizabeth Meins completed her first degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Psychology in her final year. She stayed in Cambridge to complete a PhD in Developmental Psychology. After 16 years in the Department of Psychology at Durham University, she moved to York in 2013. Her main area of research focuses on caregivers’ ‘mind-mindedness’ and its role in predicting children’s development.
My research interests all focus on how individuals’ social environment relates to their cognitive performance. Much of my research has reported on the positive impact of parents’ ‘mind-mindedness’ (their ability to ‘tune in’ to their young children’s thoughts and feelings) on children’s social-cognitive and social-emotional development. I also conduct research on how children’s private speech relates to their social environment and cognitive performance, and on how young adults’ attachment representations relate to biases in attention and cognitive processing.
Current grants: Maternal mind-mindedness: Transmission mechanisms and predicting development into early adulthood
Research over the last 20 years has shown how caregivers’ early mind-mindedness (attunement to their infants’ internal states) predicts a wide range of positive outcomes in the child. This ESRC-funded project will address two major outstanding questions: (a) what are the developmental mechanisms via which mind-mindedness in the first year of life impacts on children’s later social-cognitive development? and (b) does mind-mindedness continue to predict development into young adulthood?
The majority of my research over the past 25 years has been funded by the ESRC, with additional funding from The Leverhulme Trust. In 2000, I received an outstanding contribution to research award from the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology.
I am happy to hear from prospective PhD students with an interest in any of my research areas.
1st Year Development and Language
Transition to Parenthood
Member of the British Psychological Society and the Society for Research in Child Development
My research has informed the NSPCC’s All babies count and Minding the baby programmes and Baby steps perinatal education service. I am also working with clinical psychologists to deliver a mind-mindedness intervention programme to mothers hospitalised for a range of severe mental illnesses. This research was featured on Radio 4’s All in the mind.