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Professor Melissa Allen

Professor Melissa Allen

Professor Melissa Allen
BA(Johns H.), MA(NYU), PhD(NYU)

Professor in the Psychology of Education

Head of School

Area of research

Professor in the Psychology of Education

Office Room 2.22
Helen Wodehouse Building,
35 Berkeley Square, Clifton BS8 1JA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4309


My research broadly focuses on symbolic understanding and language development in chilldren with Autism Spectrum Disorder and typically developing children. I study how children learn pictures and words as symbols, and the factors that mediate this process (e.g. social-pragmatic and intentional cues, associative learning).  I'm also interested in learning and engagment from digital technology and storybooks, linguistic alignment, children's drawings, and other issues of typical and atypical cognitive development.


Melissa Allen is a Professor in the Psychology of Education.  She received her PhD from New York University after a Fellowship at Harvard University.  She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University, jointly in the Department of Psychology and Developmental Disabilities Clinic.  In the UK, Melissa held a Lectureship at the University of Edinburgh followed by a Senior Lectureship at Lancaster University, before joining the department at Bristol. Melissa is a Developmental Psychologist with a specialism in cognitive development and language acquistion, in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and typically developing children.

Melissa is interested in supervising PhD students who wish to explore aspects of cognitive development, including symbolic understanding, pictorial understanding, learning via iPads, language acquisition, lexcial alignment, and children's drawings.


Programme Director for the Psychology in Education BSc.


  • Autism
  • symbolic understanding
  • language acquisition
  • digital and media literacies
  • developmental psychology
  • cognitive development
  • typical and atypical development


  • BPS Chartered Member

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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