Heather Simpson

PhD Psychology

  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


I trained and practised as a Counselling Psychologist in my home country South Africa for a number of years, before returning to further my studies in the UK. My interest in child development and neuroscience, led me to complete a Masters in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of York in 2016/17. Here I gained experience in a range of neuroscience methods; and my dissertation and later research experience, under the supervision of Dr Silke Göbel, focused on the analysis of EEG data.

In 2019 I commenced my PhD under the supervision of Dr Nicolas Chevalier (Psychology) and Dr Josie Booth (Moray House School of Education and Sport). As I develop my research skills and draw on my experience as a student counsellor and school psychologist, I hope to contribute to our understanding of child development and wellbeing, and wider discussions related to educational practice and policy.


MSc Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

MSocSc Counselling Psychology

BSocSc Psychology Honours

Responsibilities & affiliations

Teaching Fellow at the Centre of Open Learning, University of Edinburgh - lecturing short courses in Psychology and Educational Psychology.

Professional registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Research summary

Cognitive control; self-regulation; socio-emotional wellbeing and functioning; school transitions; age effects

Project activity

Parent Survey: Navigating the decision to defer school entry

Age at school entry: exploring the impact on cognitive development and socio-emotional functioning (longitudinal study)

The effect of relative age on cognitive control and socio-emotional functioning when navigating the transition to secondary school


PsyPAG Conference 2022 (oral presentation): The effect of relative age on cognitive control and mental health when navigating the transition to secondary school

BPS Developmental Section 2022 (oral presentation): Age-related differences in cognitive functioning among children eligible for deferral in Scotland