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Lisa Henderson
Senior Lecturer



  • BSc Psychology, University of Hull (2005)
  • MSc Reading, Language and Cognition, University of York (2006)
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2009)
  • PhD Psychology, University of York (2010)


I completed a BSc Psychology at Hull in 2005 and a PhD in Psychology at York (with Professor Maggie Snowling and Dr Paula Clarke) in 2009 before becoming a post-doctoral research fellow with Professor Gareth Gaskell in 2010. I joined the Department as a Lecturer in 2012, and became a Senior Lecturer in 2017.

My research broadly covers reading and language development, and disorders of reading and language (including autism, dyslexia and developmental language disorder). Particular lines of research include the role of sleep in vocabulary acquisition, and individual differences in this process across development.

Departmental roles

  • Chair of Graduate Studies
  • Co-Director of the MSc in Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice
  • Test Library Manager



  • Vocabulary learning, sleep and memory consolidation across development
  • Predicting individual differences in learning through the study of developmental disorders (e.g., dyslexia, developmental language disorder, autism)

I am interested in language and reading development and the neurological mechanisms that underpin language processes and language learning. Ultimately, I’m interested in how we can promote language learning across development. My research uses traditional psycholinguistic paradigms, cognitive assessment, techniques that measure language processes as they occur in real time (such as EEG/event related potentials and eye tracking) and sleep EEG. 


We recently completed a Waterloo Foundation funded grant ‘SleepTalk!’ on sleep associated memory consolidation in children with dyslexia and without dyslexia. We found whilst sleep parameters (i.e., slow wave activity) are strongly associated with overnight changes in memory for typically developing children, this is not the case for children with dyslexia. This suggests that sleep is playing a more passive role in supporting memory consolidation in dyslexia. We recently won a large grant from the ESRC to extend this work to children with autism spectrum disorder with varying language profiles (the ‘SleepSmart’ project). Taking a more applied angle, we are also in the midst of a sleep intervention project which aims to extend sleep duration in sleep deprived teens and evaluate the impact on learning and memory consolidation. For more information see

In my spare time I am also fascinated by visual processes in reading, and claims of visual deficits in dyslexia.


  • Gareth Gaskell
  • Anna Weighall
  • Jessica Horst
  • Faye Smith
  • Meesha Warmington
  • Courtenay Norbury
  • Jessie Ricketts
  • Barry Wright
  • Brendan Barrett
  • Philip Griffiths
  • Bob Taylor
  • Maggie Snowling
  • Paula Clarke

PhD Students

  • Emma James
  • Sarah Wu
  • Amanda Olsson
  • Tom Hunter
  • Catia Oliveria


Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Victoria Knowland
  • Fay Fletcher
  • Sarah Walker

Available PhD research projects

I would be particularly interested to hear from postgraduates interested in vocabulary acquisition and sleep in children and reading and language difficulties associated with autism and dyslexia.


Selected publications

Link to Google Scholar:

  • Henderson, L., & James, E. (2018). Consolidating new words from repetitive versus multiple stories: Prior knowledge matters. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166, 465-484.
  • Smith, F.R.H., Gaskell, M.G., Weighall, A.R., Warmington, M., Reid, A.M., Henderson, L.M. (2017). Consolidation of vocabulary is associated with sleep in typically developing children but not in children with dyslexia. Developmental Science, e12639. doi: 10.1111/desc.12639
  • James, E., Gaskell, M.G., Weighall, A.R., & Henderson, L.M. (2017). Consolidation of vocabulary during sleep: the rich get richer? Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, 77, 1-13.
  • Henderson, L. M., & Warmington, M. (2017). A sequence learning impairment in dyslexia? It depends on the task. Research in Developmental Disabilities60, 198-210.
  • Weighall, A. R., Henderson, L. M., Barr, D. J., Cairney, S. A., & Gaskell, M. G. (2016). Eye-tracking the timeā€course of novel word learning and lexical competition in adults and children. Brain and Language.
  • Griffiths, P. G., Taylor, R. H., Henderson, L. M., & Barrett, B. T. (2016). The effect of coloured overlays and lenses on reading: a systematic review of the literature. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics36(5), 519-544.
  • Smith, F. R., & Henderson, L. M. (2016). Sleep problems in children with dyslexia: understanding the role of sleep in neurocognitive development through the lens of developmental disorders. Acta Paediatrica105(9), 999-1000.
  • Henderson, L.M., Devine, K., Weighall, A., & Gaskell, M.G. (2015). When the daffodat flew to the intergalactic zoo: Off-line consolidation is critical for word learning from stories. Developmental Psychology, 51, 406-417. 
  • Henderson, L.M., Clarke, P.J., & Snowling, M.J. (2015). Reading comprehension impairments in autism spectrum disorder. L’Annee psychologique, 114, 779-797. 
  • Henderson, L.M., Taylor, R.H., Barrett, B., & Griffiths, P.G. (2014). Treating reading difficulties with colour. British Medical Journal, 349, g5160.
  • Henderson, L.M., Powell, A., Gaskell, M.G., & Norbury, C. (2014). Learning and consolidation of new spoken words in autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Science, 17, 858-71.
  • Henderson, L.M., Weighall, A., & Gaskell, M.G. (2013). Learning new vocabulary during childhood: effects of semantic training on lexical consolidation and integration. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 572-92.
  • Henderson, L.M., Weighall, A., Brown, H., & Gaskell, M.G. (2013). On-line lexical competition during spoken word recognition and word learning in children and adults. Child Development, 84, 1668-1685.
  • Henderson, L.M., Snowling, M.J., Clarke, P. (2013). Accessing, integrating and inhibiting word meaning in poor comprehenders. Scientific Studies of Reading, 0, 1-22.
  • Henderson, L.M., Tsogka, A., & Snowling, M.J. (2012). Questioning of the use of coloured overlays in adults with and without dyslexia. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs.
  • Henderson, L.M., Weighall, A., Brown, H., & Gaskell, M.G. (2012). Consolidation of vocabulary is associated with sleep in children. Developmental Science, 15, 674-687.
  • Brown, H., Weighall, A., Henderson, L.M., & Gaskell, M.G. (2012). Enhanced recognition and recall of new words in 7- and 12-year-old children following a period of offline consolidation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112, 56-72.
  • Henderson, L.M., Clarke, P., & Snowling, M.J. (2011). Accessing and selecting word meaning in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 52, 964 – 73.
  • Henderson, L.M., Baseler, .H.A, Clarke, P.J., Watson, S., & Snowling, M.J. (2011). The N400 effect in children: Relationships with comprehension, vocabulary and decoding. Brain and Language, 117, 88-99.
  • Snowling, M.J., Nash, H.M., & Henderson, L.M. (2008). The development of literacy skills in children with Down syndrome: Implications for intervention. Down Syndrome Research and PracticeOn-line publication.  
  • Henderson, L.M., Barca, L., & Ellis, A.W. (2007). Interhemispheric cooperation and non-cooperation during word recognition: evidence for callosal transfer dysfunction in dyslexic adults. Brain and Language, 103 (3), 276-291. 
  • Singleton, C., & Henderson, L.M. (2007). Computerised screening for visual stress in children with dyslexia. Dyslexia, 13, 130-151.
  • Singleton, C., & Henderson, L.M. (2007). Computerised screening for visual stress in reading. Journal of Research in Reading, 30(3), 316-332.
  • Singleton, C., & Henderson, L.M. (2006). Visual factors in reading. London Review of Education, 1, 89-98. 


Contact details

Dr Lisa Henderson
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Room PS/E210

Tel: 01904 324362