Dr. Gillian Forrester
Position: Senior Lecturer
Office: Birkbeck Main Building
Room 526
Phone: 020 7631 6---
Fax: 020 7631 6312
Email: -


My personal webpage, including full publications, can be found here.

I am a social cognitive neuroscientist interested in human and non-human primate cognition. My research involves the integration of modern technology and the convergence of methodologies across multiple disciplines. I began my research studies in primate cognition as an undergraduate in cognitive science at the University of California San Diego. I subsequently earned a D.Phil. from Oxford University where I investigated the neural correlates of human language and attention using neuroimaging methods (EEG, PET, fMRI). As a postdoctoral student, I honed my developmental psychology knowledge running behavioral and imaging studies of infant cognitive development at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development under the direction of Mark Johnson. Using knowledge of human cognition and quantitative neuroscience techniques, a second postdoctoral position awarded by the Daphne Jackson Trust at the University of Sussex, provided an opportunity to develop a new multidimensional method (MDM) to investigate naturalistic behaviour across disparate populations. This research focused on gaining a better understanding of both the evolution and the development of human and non-human primate nonverbal communication skills through the quantitative assessment of western lowland gorilla behaviour.

In some of my recent research, I have investigated the evolutionary basis of brain lateralisation (for instance, reflected in handedness), including its development, its dependence on context, its cross-species similarity in other primates, and its variation in cases of developmental disorders (such as autism).


Recent Publications

Forrester, G.S. (in press) Hand, limb and other motor preferences: Methodological Considerations. In: G. Vallortigara and L. Rogers (Eds.), Lateralized Brain Functions (Series on Neuromethods), series editor, Walz, W), Springer Books.

Forrester, G.S., Rawlings, B., Davila-Ross, M. (2016). Free-ranging wild chimpanzees show a right hand bias for a feeding sequence. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Forrester, G.S., Thomas, M.S.C. (2015). What is universal and what differs in language development? Response Article, Language, Cognition & Neuroscience.

Forrester, G.S., Rodriguez, A. (2015). Slip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development. Cognition, 141,103-111.

Forrester, G.S., Crawley, M., Palmer, C. (2014). Social environment elicits lateralized navigational behavior in two populations of typically developing children. Brain and Cognition, 91,21-27.

Forrester, G.S., Pegler, R., Thomas, M.A., Mareschal, D. (2014). Handedness as a marker of cerebral lateralization in children with and without autism. Behavioural Brain Research, 268,14-21.

Quaresmini, C., Forrester, G.S., Spiezio, C., Vallortigara, G. (2014). Social environment elicits lateralized behaviors in gorillas and chimpanzees. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128(3), 276-284.