Search for courses or information

Dr Sam Wass

Senior Lecturer

Developmental Psychology, Psychology

Sam’s research examines how stress and emotional arousal influence concentration and learning capacities during early childhood. At UEL, he is the leader of the BabyDevLab and the Developmental Group.



    I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist who leads the BabyDevLab at the University of East London.

    I am a previous holder of research fellowships from the British Academy and the Economic and Social Research Council, and a current holder of a 5-year research fellowship from the European Research Council. My research examines stress and attention during early life.

    I am also active in running training for Early Years practitioners, and as a media spokesperson with expertise in early childhood.

    More details can be found on my personal website here.

    1999-2001 BA, Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
    2009-2012 PhD, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London
    2013-2015 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Cognition and Brain Unit, Cambridge
    2016-2018 ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow, University of East London
    2019-2025 ERC Starter Grant Fellow, University of East London
    Visiting Scientist, Cambridge University; Visiting Scientist, King's College, London

    Overview


    Sam Wass gained a first-class undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. He spent his twenties working as an opera director, in opera houses in London, Glyndebourne, Berlin, Vienna, Bregenz, Geneva and others, before returning to academia. He did his PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, and his postdoctoral research in Cambridge, at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. He is currently leader of the BabyDevLab at the University of East London.

    Sam’s research examines stress, concentration and learning during infancy and early childhood. He uses methods including eyetracking, autonomic monitoring and neuroimaging (EEG) to understand the factors that increase and decrease stress in young children, and how stress influences children's concentration and learning capacities. In particular, he is interested in understanding the mechanisms of environmental and interpersonal influence: how young children's stress, concentration and learning capacities are influenced by the environment, and people around them. Sam works with typically developing children, children being raised in low socio-economic status backgrounds, and children in early stages of developing conditions such as Autism Spectrum disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Sam has held research fellowships from the British Academy and Economic and Social Research Council, and is a current holder of a €1.5 million research fellowship from the European Research Council. In addition, he has received funding as a Principal Investigator from the Medical Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, and others, and as a co-Investigator from the National Institute of Health Research, the Nuffield Foundation, the MQ Mental Health charity and others.

    Sam has active research collaborations with a range of researchers including: Vicky Leong (Cambridge/NTU Singapore), Mark Johnson (Cambridge/Birkbeck), Emily Jones (Birkbeck), Edmund Sonuga-Barke and Tony Charman (IoPPN, London), Oliver Perra (Queen's Belfast) Jukka Leppanen (Tampere, Finland), Stefanie Hoehl (Vienna, Austria), Aleksandra Djukic and Susan Rose (Albert Einstein, New York), Noa Gueron Sela (Ben Gurion, Israel) and Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Susan Bryson (Alberta, Canada).

    In addition, Sam is very active in the public communication of science. He appeared as one of the psychologists in the multi-award-winning Channel 4 series The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds, produced by Teresa Watkins for RDF Television and supported by the Wellcome Trust. He appears regularly as an early years expert on television (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky) and radio (all channels), and in all national newspapers. Sam has acted as media spokesperson for public campaigns by Save the Children, Lego, Nickelodeon, and more.

    Collaborators

    • UEL
    • External
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>
    • <br>

    Research

    A full, up to date list of my publications can be found here

    Publications

    More details about Sam’s current research projects can be found on the UEL BabyDevLab website.

    Funding




    Sam is very active in the public communication of science. He is one of the host scientists in the award-winning Channel 4 series The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds, produced by Teresa Watkins for RDF Television and supported by the Wellcome Trust, for which he is heavily involved in programme development and appears regularly on-screen. He appears regularly on television (BBC News) and radio (BBC Radio 4, 5 Live), and has given talks at the Royal Institution. His work also appears regularly in national newspapers and on BBC News. Sam has acted as media spokesperson for public campaigns by Save the Children, the National Trust and others.

    More details at: https://www.sites.google.com/site/samwass

    Interests

    I am always happy to receive research proposals from students in any of my areas of interest.

    Teaching