Dr John Towse
+44 (0)1524 593705
My work spans a number of research topics. Here is an overview of some of project I have been involved with
Working memory refers to the active maintenance of transient information. We know that working memory is very important, for children's development and for adult cognitive skills. Tasks that measure working memory are often very good at predicting mathematics, reading, comprhension processes and so on. My research has attempted to document the relations between working memory and cognition, as well as develop more complete theoretical accounts of how working memory processes unfold.
Executive functions relate the the effective regulation of behaviours towards goals, targets, cognitions and responses. Executive functions form a complex interrelated set of behaviours. So it is important to understand how regulation takes place, the limits and the opportunities that they provide.
Several research projects attempt to understand how children's understanding of mathematics concepts and mathematics processes unfold. We explore how education and cognitive development impact on the important domain of mathematics.
Online environments are increasingly ubiquitous; we communicate through email, we browse websites, we live our lives through social media, etc. This presents cognitive systems with great challenges. We interact with complex systems involving many -sometimes unknown - permuations and consequences, and we are required to trust individuals and systems despite sometimes scanty evidence to justify this. We seek to understand how cognitive decisions interact with computer systems, devices and expectations.
John Towse's Publications
Towse, J. , Muldoon, K., & Simms, V. (2014). Figuring out children’s number representations: lessons from cross-cultural work . In Cohen Kadosh, R., & Dowker, A. (Eds.), Oxford handbook of numerical cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Towse, J. , Loetscher, T., & Brugger, P. (2014). Not all numbers are equal: preferences and biases among children and adults when generating random sequences . Frontiers in Psychology , 5, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00019
Simms, V., Muldoon, K. , & Towse, J. (2013). Plane thinking: mental representations in number line estimation as a function of orientation, scale and counting proficiency. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 115(3), 468-480doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.03.011
Muldoon, K. , Towse, J. , Simms, V., Perra, O., & Menzies, V. (2013). A longitudinal analysis of estimation accuracy, counting skills and mathematical ability across the first school year . Developmental Psychology , 49(2), 250-257doi: 10.1037/a0028240
Muldoon, K., Simms, V. , Towse, J. , Menzies, V., & Yue, G. (2011). Cross-cultural comparisons of 5-year-olds’ estimating and mathematical ability . Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology , 42(4), 669-681doi: 10.1177/0022022111406035
Lewis, C. , Carpendale, J. , Towse, J. , & Maridaki-Kassotaki, K. (2010). Epistemic flow and the social making of minds. In Sokol, B., Muller, U., Carpendale, J. M., Young, A., & Iarocci, G. (Eds.), Self- and Social-Regulation: Exploring the Relations between Social Interaction, Social Cognition, and the Development of Executive Functions.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cowan, N., Hismjatullina, A., AuBuchon, A. M., Saults, J. S., Horton, N., Leadbitter, K. , & Towse, J. N. (2010). With development, list recall includes more chunks, not just larger ones. Developmental Psychology , 46(5), 1119-1131doi: 10.1037/a0020618
Towse, J. N. , Hitch, G. J., Horton, N., & Harvey, K. (2010). Synergies between processing and memory in children's reading span. Developmental Science , 13(5), 779-789doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00929.x
Loetscher, T., Nicholls, M. E. R. , Towse, J. N. , Bradshaw, J. L., & Brugger, P. (2010). Lucky numbers : spatial neglect affects physical, but not representational, choices in a Lotto task. Cortex , 46(5), 685-690doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.06.010
Towse, J. N. , Hitch, G. J., Hamilton, Z., & Pirrie, S. (2008). The endurance of children's working memory : a recall time analysis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 101(2), 156-163doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2008.03.009
Towse, J. N. , Cowan, N., Hitch, G. J., & Horton, N. (2008). The recall of information from working memory : insights from behavioural and chronometric perspectives. Experimental Psychology , 55(6), 371-383doi: 10.1027/1618-3220.127.116.111
Towse, J. N. , Cowan, N., Horton, N., & Whytock, S. (2008). Task experience and children’s working memory performance : a perspective from recall timing. Developmental Psychology , 44(3), 695-706doi: 10.1037/0012-1618.104.22.1685
Towse, J. N. , Lewis, C. , & Knowles, M. (2007). When knowledge is not enough: the phenomenon of goal neglect in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 96(4), 320-332doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2006.12.007
Towse, J. , Hitch, J. G., & Horton, N. (2007). Working memory as the interface between processing and retention : a developmental perspective . In Kail, R. (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior. (pp. 215-251). (Advances in child development and behavior). Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.
Towse, J. N. , Hamilton, Z., Hitch, G. J., & Peacock, K. (2005). Working memory period: the endurance of mental representations. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series a Human Experimental Psychology , 58(3), 547-571doi: 10.1080/02724980443000098
Muldoon, K. P. , Lewis, C. , & Towse, J. N. (2005). Because it's there! Why some children count, rather than infer numerical relationships. Cognitive Development , 20(3), 472-491doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2005.05.008
Towse, J. N. , & Cowan, N. (2004). Working memory and its relevance for cognitive development. In Schneider, W., Schumann-Hengsteler, R., & Sodian, B. (Eds.), Young children's cognitive development : interrelationships among executive functioning, working memory, verbal ability and theory of mind. (pp. 9-37). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Towse, J. N. , Cowan, N., Hamilton, Z., & Saults, J. S. (2003). Children's Working-Memory Processes: A Response-Timing Analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 132(1), 113-132doi: 10.1037/0096-3422.214.171.124
Towse, J. N. (2003). Review of ‘Lifespan development of human memory’. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series a Human Experimental Psychology , 56(7), 1244-1246doi: 10.1080/02724980343000017
Towse, J. N. , Hitch, G. J., & Hutton, U. M. Z. (2002). On the nature of the relationship between processing activity and item retention in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 82(2), 156-184doi: 10.1016/S0022-0965(02)00003-6
Towse, J. N. , Hitch, G. J., & Hutton, F. (2001). What limits children's working memory span? Theoretical accounts and applications for scholastic development. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 130(2), 184-198doi: 10.1037/0096-34126.96.36.199
Towse, J. N. , Hitch, G. J., & Skeates, S. (1999). Developmental sensitivity to temporal grouping effects in short-term memory. International Journal of Behavioural Development , 23(2), 391-411doi: 10.1080/016502599383883
Malloch, M., Shapiro, J., Hitch, G. J., Culpin, V. , & Towse, J. N. (1995). Temporal effects in immediate verbal memory: a combined experimental/modelling approach. Language & Cognitive Processes , 10(3&4), 401-405doi: 10.1080/01690969508407107