I am an Associate Professor in Psychology at UCL Institute of Education. 

After obtaining a BA in Linguistics and an MA in psycholinguistics at the University of Antwerp, I moved to London in 2004 where I obtained an MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology at Birkbeck College London.

I worked for a few years as a researcher for Prof. Annette Karmiloff-Smith (Birkbeck College London), Prof Julie Dockrell and Dr. Matthew Saxton (Institute of Education) before I started my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Gabriella Rundblad and Dr. Dagmara Annaz at King’s College London.

In my PhD I investigated metaphor and metonymy comprehension in typically developing children and children with Williams Syndrome.  After my PhD, I was a post-doctoral researcher with Dr Dagmara Annaz at Middlesex University for a few months. I joined Kingston University from 2010 to 2018 where I started the Child Development and Learning Difficulties  (CDLD) lab.

Research

My research focuses mainly on language and number development in both typical and atypical developmental disorders, such as Williams syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, and Specific Language Impairment. Linking the aforementioned areas of research activity, I am interested in individual differences, as well as exploring what cognitive abilities and strategies relate to successful performance in typical populations and how these differ in atypical populations, in order to aid the development of economically valid training programmes. I believe that it is important to study abilities from infancy onwards in order to obtain a better understanding of how cognitive abilities develop over time and how performance across different cognitive areas relate to each other. I employ a range of methods and experimental designs, including spontaneous language samples, preferential looking, experimental tasks, and eye tracking (Tobii).

I use a range of methodologies and for some of my studies. I use a Tobii eye-tracker which records the eye-movements of the participant. This harmless and non-invasive recording device allows me to investigate where and how long a participant was looking at while performing a certain task/ watching TV.

Professional Activities

Organiser of BPS seminar series: Neurodevelopmental disorders seminar series (2012-2013) with co-organisers E. Farran (Institute of Education) and D. Riby (Newcastle University).

I am an asssociate editor for Journal Research in Developmental Disabilities and a member of the advisory board of Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

I occasionally review submissions for International Journal of Language & Communication DisordersJournal of Clinical and Experimental PsychologyBritish Journal of Educational PsychologyResearch in Developmental DisabilitiesDevelopmental Science, Frontiers and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

I am the educational needs advisor for the Williams Syndrome Foundation, UK for schools and parents and I am a Fellow of Higher Academy for Education.

Funding

2018-2019 Van Herwegen, J. (PI) & Thomas, M.S.C. Williams syndrome Foundation (£27,000). Cogntivie development in Williams syndrome.

2018-2019 Van Herwegen, J. & Palikara, O. (PI). Baily Thomas (£53,014). Transition from primary to secondary school for children with neurodevelopmental disorders: a cross-syndrome comparison of cognitive, behavioural, and mental health outcomes.

2017-2018 Stojanovic, V, & Van Herwegen, J. (CI). Jérôme Lejeune Foundation (€19,645). Improving cognitive abilities and educational outcomes in children with Down syndrome through mediated learning.

2016-2017 Van Herwegen, J. (PI), & Palikara, O. Williams Syndrome Foundation (£22,699). Raising awareness and meeting the needs of children and young people with Williams Syndrome under the new SEND Code of Practice in the UK.

2016-2017 Freeth, M., Lane, C. & Van Herwegen, J (CI). Baily Thomas (£4,704). Why do individuals with Sotos syndrome struggle with maths?

2016-2017 Purser, H., Van Herwegen. J. (named participant) & Thomas, M.S.C. British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (£ 8,783). Building a foundation to develop an intervention to remediate humour comprehension deficits in autism and Down syndrome

2015-2016 Van Herwegen, J. (PI), Simms, V., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (£9,897). The influence of
domain general abilities on number development in Williams syndrome and Down
syndrome: evidence from eye tracking.

2015-2016 Van Herwegen, J. (PI) & Donlan, C. Nuffield Foundation (£139,564). Improving preschoolers' number foundations.

2012-2013 Farran, E.K. & Van Herwegen, J. British Academy (£9,960). The use of eye-tracking to investigate landmark knowledge and route-learning strategies in typical and atypical development

2012-2013 Van Herwegen, J., Farran, E.K., Riby, D. British Psychological Society seminar series competition, co-sponsored by Williams Syndrome Foundation and BPS developmental section (total £4800). Neurodevelopmental disorders: Exploring sensitive methods of assessment across development

2012-2013 Van Herwegen, J. (£3000). Capability Research Fund at Kingston University, London. Plus: Pre-school number learning scheme.

2007-2010 Van Herwegen, J. University of London Central Research Fund (£1,997). The understanding of Metaphor and Metonymy in Williams syndrome.

 

Please find my full CV here.

 

Some recent presented talks

Van Herwegen, J. (March, 2017).  The importance of studying developmental disorders: Examples from number development. University of Westminster (Invited talk).

Van Herwegen, J. (March, 2017). Causes of delay in mathematical development: a cross-syndrome comparison, MEC Loughborough University (Invited talk).

Van Herwegen, J., Costa, H.M., Nicholson, B., & Donlan, C. (February, 2017). Improving Number Foundations in Pre-schoolers: ANS versus Symbolic Knowledge. Royal Society, the origins of numerical abilities.

Van Herwegen, J., Costa, H.M., Nicholson, B., & Donlan, C. (September, 2016). Improving number foundations in pre-schoolers at risk for mathematical learning difficulties. British Psychology Society: Developmental Section, Belfast.

Ranzato, E. & Van Herwegen, J. (September, 2016). Number development in ASD: A critical review. International workshopDomain-General and Domain-Specific Foundation of Numerical and Arithmetic Processing. Tuebingen, Germany.

Simms, V., Van Herwergen, J., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (August, 2016). Factors contributing to number line estimation skills in individuals with Williams Syndrome and Down Syndrome. EARLI: Leuven, Belgium.

Costa, H.M, Nicholson B. A., Donlan C., & Van Herwegen J., (July, 2016). Differentiating subgroups of preschool children at risk for Mathematical Learning Disabilities. In: 11th European Conference on psychological theory and research on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Lille, France.

Van Herwegen, J., Simms, V., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (June 2016). The influence of domain-general and domain-specific abilities on number development in two neurodevelopmental disorders. Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar: Institute of Education, University College London.

Nicholson, B., Costa, H.,M., Donlan, C. & Van Herwegen. J. (June 2016). Differentiating subgroups of preschool children at risk for Mathematical Learning Disabilities. Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar: Institute of Education, University College London.

Van Herwegen., J. (November 2015). Block design performance in Williams syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders: differences in visuo-spatial abilities or task approach
skills? Centre for Edcuational Neuroscience. Institute of Education, University of Longon (Invited talk).

McNeilly, C., Griffiths, Y., Purser, H., & Van Herwegen, J. (June 2015). Which Cognitive Abilities Influence the Development of Reading Abilities in Williams Syndrome? Neurodevelopmental Disorders Seminar, Oxford.

Van Herwegen., J. (June 2015). Figurative language development in neurodevelopmental disorders: what can we learn about typical development and underlying mechanisms? University of the Balearic Islands, Palma (Invited talk sponsored by Santander).

Van Herwegen, J. (May 2015). What we can learn about development in typically developing populations from research on atypical populations: examples from language and number development. University of Hamburg (Invited talk).

Van Herwegen, J. (April 2015). Improving preschoolers’ number development. University of Trieste (Invited talk).

Van Herwegen, J. (April 2015). Novel metaphor and metonymy comprehension in Autism Spectrum Disorders. University of London (Invited talk).

Van Herwegen, J. (March 2015). Figurative language in typical and atypical development: past and future directions. University of Reading (Invited talk).

Passolunghi, M. C., Costa H.M., & Van Herwegen, J. (2014). Potenziare precocemente la memoria di lavoro e le abilità numeriche. In: XXIII convegno nazionale AIRIPA. Lucca, ottobre 24-25, 2013.

Costa, H. M., Van Herwegen, J., & Passolunghi, M. C. (2013). Improving number abilities in preschoolers. In: The Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, November 28-29. 

Van Herwegen, J., Farran, E. & Formby, S. (September 2013). Landmark knowledge and route-learning strategies in Williams syndrome: evidence from eye-tracking. BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections Joint Conference, Reading.

Van Herwegen, J., & Rundblad, R. (June 2013).  The development of metaphor and metonymy in pre-school children. Child Language Seminar, Manchester.

Van Herwegen, J., Smith, T. & Annaz, D. (September 2012). Theory of Mind abilities in ASD: what can we learn from eye-movements? Symposium: Theory of Mind in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan. British Psychology Society: Developmental Section, Glasgow.

Van Herwegen, J. (July 2012). The development of figurative language production in typically developing children and children with Williams syndrome. 4th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, London.

Van Herwegen, J., Smith, T. & Annaz, D. (September, 2012). Theory of Mind abilities in ASD: what can we learn from eye-movements? Symposium: Theory of Mind in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan. British Psychology Society: Developmental Section, Glasgow.

Van Herwegen, J. (July, 2012). The development of figurative language production in typically developing children and children with Williams syndrome. 4th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, London.

Rundblad, Olofson, Van Herwegen, Casey & Oluvedun (July, 2012). Conceptual metaphor comprehension in children with autism spectrum disorders: conceptual metaphor theory vs graded salience hypothesis. 4th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, London.

Van Herwegen, J., D’Souza, D., Dekker, T., Rodic, M., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. Attention, eye movement planning and number development in infancy: A cross-syndrome comparison (September, 2011). Symposium: Domain-General influences on Domain-specific processes in typical and atypical development. British Psychology Society: Developmental Section, Newcastle. 

Van Herwegen, J., Annaz, D. & Rundblad, G. (July, 2011). The development of novel metaphor and metonymy comprehension in typically developing children. International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Montreal.

Farran, E.K., Purser, H., Courbois, Y., Van Herwegen, J., Blades, M. (March, 2011). Learning a Route through a Virtual Environment; Error Patterns and Recall of Landmarks in Typical and Atypical Development. Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Montreal. 

Van Herwegen, J., Rundblad, G. & Annaz, D. (October, 2009). Variability within and across tasks: the case of Williams syndrome. PhD research seminars, Institute of Education (invited talk). 

Van Herwegen, J., Annaz, D. & Rundblad, G. (September, 2009). Explaining development of comprehension of novel metaphors and metonyms in Williams Syndrome. British Psychology Society: Developmental section, Nottingham.