Matt Slocombe

Position: Graduate student
Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street


I currently completing my PhD student in the Developmental Neurocognition Lab and Centre for Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck. My research investigates the developmental and cognitive mechanisms involved in analogical reasoning. From a basic research perspective, I am interested in how development in the conceptual and linguistic systems allows children to analogically reason with increasingly sophisticated concepts as they develop. From a more ecological perspective, I am interested in how knowledge of reasoning mechanisms can inform teaching methods to support children’s learning of abstract concepts.

In my earlier studies, I used priming methods to identify how individual differences in children’s conceptual development affects the decisions they make when analogically reasoning. From this, we have made progress in understanding the key concepts needed when children are reasoning, how strength of these key concepts differentially affects reasoning decisions and how inhibitory systems moderate conceptual strength during the reasoning process.

My following studies tested several methods that aimed to draw children’s attention to the key concepts identified in the earlier studies using language and contextual manipulation. The goal is to find simple methods that will scaffold children’s conceptual weakness when reasoning (weakness that would usually cause them to make errors) that can then be easily translated into the classroom.

I am supervised by Professor Michael Thomas and Professor Andrew Tolmie and funded by a +3 ESRC studentship.



Slocombe, M., Thomas, M. S. C., & Tolmie, A. (2018). Slocombe et al BPS Poster 2018. Poster presentation at the British Psychological Society Developmental Psychology Annual Conference, Liverpool.


My personal homepage can be found here