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Gaze direction and theory of mind (DohertyMU20PSY)

Faculty of Social Sciences

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Dr M Doherty No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Many researchers claim theory of mind is present in infancy. So how come 3-year-olds have difficulty saying where someone is looking from eye direction alone (Doherty & Anderson, 1999)? The aim of this PhD is to explore how explicit gaze judgement and explicit theory of mind abilities relate. The hypothesis is that theory of mind developments around 4 years are new and qualitatively different from what infants are able to do. This specifies the general topic: applicants should provide a more specific proposal after discussion with me.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD programme.

The start date of this project is October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time/part-time. Studentship length is 3 years for a full-time student and 6 years for a part-time student.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a School of Psychology competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009.

Entry requirements:

Acceptable first degree in Psychology or relevant other discipline.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Masters or equivalent experience.


i) Doherty, M. J., Anderson, J. R., & Howieson, L. (2009). The rapid development of explicit gaze judgment ability at 3 years. Journal of experimental child psychology, 104(3), 296-312.

ii) Doherty, M. J., McIntyre, A. H., & Langton, S. R. (2015). Developmentally distinct gaze processing systems: luminance versus geometric cues. Cognition, 137, 72-80.

iii) Doherty, M. J., & Anderson, J. R. (1999). A new look at gaze: Preschool children's understanding of eye-direction. Cognitive Development, 14(4), 549-571.

iv) Doherty, M. J. (2006). The development of mentalistic gaze understanding. Infant and Child Development: An International Journal of Research and Practice, 15(2), 179-186.
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