Publications and Grants

Publications

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2014). Preschoolers with Down syndrome don’t yet show the learning and memory impairments seen in adults with Down syndrome. Developmental Science.

(A rating; impact factor=4.278, rank = 5 of 65 in developmental psychology)

> Click to view abstract
Abstract: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) exhibit a behavioral phenotype of specific strengths and weaknesses, in addition to a generalized cognitive delay. In particular, adults with DS exhibit specific deficits in learning and memory processes that depend on the hippocampus, and there is some suggestion of impairments on executive function tasks that depend on the prefrontal cortex. While these functions have been investigated in adults with DS, it is largely unclear how these processes develop in young children with DS. Here we tested preschoolers with DS and typically developing children, age-matched on either receptive language or non-verbal scores as a proxy for mental age (MA), on a battery of eye-tracking and behavioral measures that have been shown to depend on the hippocampus or the prefrontal cortex. Preschoolers with DS performed equivalently to MA-matched controls, suggesting that the disability-specific memory deficits documented in adults with DS, in addition to a cognitive delay, are not yet evident in preschoolers with DS, and likely emerge progressively with age. Our results reinforce the idea that early childhood may be a critical time frame for targeted early intervention.

 

Denson, T. F., Pedersen, W. C., & Friese, M, Hahm, A., & Roberts, L. (2011). Understanding impulsive aggression: Angry rumination and reduced self-control capacity are mechanisms underlying the provocation-aggression relationship. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 850-862

(A* rating; impact factor=2.58, rank = 7 of 50 in social psychology)

> Click to view abstract
Interpersonal provocation is a common and robust antecedent to aggression. Four studies identified angry rumination and reduced self-control as mechanisms underlying the provocation—aggression relationship. Following provocation, participants demonstrated decreased self-control on an unpleasant task relative to a control condition (Study 1). When provoked, rumination reduced self-control and increased aggression. This effect was mediated by reduced self-control capacity (Study 2). State rumination following provocation, but not anger per se, mediated the effect of trait rumination on aggression (Study 3). Bolstering self-regulatory resources by consuming a glucose beverage improved performance on a measure of inhibitory control following rumination (Study 4). These findings suggest that rumination following an anger-inducing provocation reduces self-control and increases aggression. Bolstering self-regulatory resources may reduce this adverse effect.

Presentations

Roberts, L. (2014, April). A neuropsychological examination of learning and memory in people with Down syndrome. Invited lecture at New York University, Sydney campus.

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2013, September). Learning and memory development in preschoolers, children and adolescents with Down syndrome. Presented at the 16th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Laussane, Switzerland.

Roberts, L. (2013, August). Adults with Down syndrome may take longer, but they don’t forget what they learn. Presented at the Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Competition, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2013, July). Pre-schoolers with Down syndrome don’t yet show the learning and memory impairments seen in adults with Down syndrome. Presented at the 18th Biennial Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA) conference, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2012, November). Pre-schoolers with Down syndrome don’t yet show the learning and memory impairments seen in adults with Down syndrome. Presented at the Sydney Postgraduate Psychology Conference, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Roberts, L. (2012, October). Lifespan Memory Development in Down Syndrome: Mid-canditure talk. Presented at UNSW PhD seminar, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Roberts, L. (2012, August). Harnessing the potential of preschoolers with Down syndrome. Presented at the Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Competition, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2012, July). Memory development in Down syndrome. Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Roberts, L. & Richmond, J. (2011, July). Developmental Profiles of Hippocampally-mediated Functions in Early Childhood. Presented at the 17th Biennial Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA) conference, at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Roberts, L. (2010, August). Lifespan Memory Development in Down Syndrome: PhD proposal talk. Presented at UNSW PhD seminar, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Grants

 

2014   

Effectiveness of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in people with intellectual disability and anxiety: A pilot RCT (via Centre for Disability Studies, affiliate of the University of Sydney)

APEX Foundation for Research into Intellectual Disability (AFRID)

$13,000

 

 

2012

Neuropsychological profile of pre-schoolers with Down syndrome (via the University of New South Wales)

APEX Foundation for Research into Intellectual Disability (AFRID)

$3,000