Learning to keep conversations going

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Cartoon children talking with speech bubbles

Learning to keep conversations going

Introducing Our Project

Who are we?

This research is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith in the Kent Child Development Unit, School of Psychology University of Kent. The lead researcher is Dr Katie Carpenter (currently on maternity leave), who is highly experienced in working with autistic individuals. Click on the ‘People’ tab at the top of this page to find out about other team members.


What are we interested in?

The ability to manage a conversation topic is the social glue of friendships and workplace collaboration. Yet we have all experienced how back-and-forth conversation can go extremely well in certain contexts, yet ‘dry up’ in others. Even during the late primary school years, many children can find it difficult in some contexts to hold a ‘small talk’ type conversation. We want to explore what makes those conversations easier and more difficult for typically developing and autistic children.


Using this site

At the top of the screen, click on ‘Studies running now’ to find out details of our current studies and how to take part.

We will update the sections called ‘Findings’ and ‘Publications’ once we have completed particular studies.