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Stuart graduated with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in Philosophy and Psychology (Strathclyde, 1987).  His main interest in psychology was ignited while undertaking a part time job in a school for children with special needs, specifically working with pre-school children with Downs Syndrome. He chose to attend Strathclyde because it not only offered a diverse curriculum (in addition to philosophy and psychology he read mathematics, politics and sociology), but it was also very strong for developmental psychology.  He was taught by several eminent European professors and the central theme in their teaching was the importance of the social domain when exploring the “human experience”.  After graduating from Strathclyde he took a year out to work and apply for scholarships to fund post-graduate study.  During this “gap year” he worked for the then Department of Agriculture & Fisheries and was involved in the monitoring of pelagic stocks in the North Sea.  He won an Engineering & Science Research Council Scholarship to study artificial intelligence at Sussex University (Initially, he took the philosophy and mathematics element of his bachelor’s programme as a basis for further study.  Having graduated from Sussex, he won a Competition Scholarship from the Economic and Social Research Council to extend the theoretical work done at Sussex into empirical research with humans. He read for a PhD by research at Strathclyde to study the development of thought pertaining to Newtonian Mechanics.  On completion of the PhD (after 3 years), He was offered a postdoctoral position by Professor Christine Howe (now at Cambridge University) to work with her on a project that was very similar to his own doctoral research into children’s understanding of physics.  The latter is still a central theme in his research.  However, he has now moved on to exploring how scientific concepts are affected by the first language of the child and in general how language affects thinking (so called Sapir Whorf theory). He has also held a “Post Doc” at Birmingham University working under the now Emeritus (and very distinguished) Professors Mike Tobin and Alistair Fielding (exploring the development of motor control in visually impaired children). Stuart has taught at the following institutions in full-time or part-time roles:


1990-1993             Strathclyde University

1994-1995             Birmingham University

1995-1996             University of the West of England

1996-2004            Northampton University

2004-2008           Newport University (Now University of South Wales (HoD)

2008-Present       Newman University



Research Interests

Stuart’s current research mainly concerns how a child’s first language can affect his/her thoughts about the environment and environmental change. For example, two of his former students went along with him to Thailand to compare Thai children’s thoughts about the relationship between time, speed and distance differ from those of English speaking children. This stems from his PhD and post-doc work, both of which were funded by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council. He also explored the development blind children’s self-feeding, funded by a Birmingham Charity for the blind. He is also interested in the perceived benefits of being tattooed.


Stuart’s interests include human development, childhood mental health and educational psychology.

Administrative Responsibilities

These may include various posts of responsibility at subject, school and institutional level.

Programme Leader BSc Psychology

Membership of Professional Organisations

Fellow of Higher Education




Other Activities

Conferences Presentations/Publications

1991 Children’s Understanding of Duration, BPS Developmental Section (Downing College, Cambridge University)

1996 Tool Use in Blind Two Year Olds, BPS Developmental Section (Strathclyde University)

1996 Motor Development in Blind Two Year Old, Mary Kitzinger Symposium



  • Ross, S. & Tobin, M.J. (1997). Object permanence, reaching, and locomotion in infants who are blind. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 91 (1), pp. 25-32.

  • Tobin, M.J., Bozic, N., Douglas, G., Greaney, J., Ross, S. (1997). Visually impaired children: development and implications for education. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 4, pp.431-447.

  • Ross, S. (1998). Mmm ... Is the ability to appreciate music a divine gift? Transpersonal Psychology Review, 2, pp.10-12.

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