Rebecca Merkley



University of Western Ontario (2005-2009), Harvard Graduate School of Education (2010-2011), University of Oxford (2011-present)



Work History:

Current Job:

I am a graduate student in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford.


My Interview

Me and my work

I am currently finishing up my DPhil on the topic of pre-school cognitive development. Specifically, I am interested in how young children learn early numeracy skills and how cognitive factors such as attention play a role in this learning process.

Typical day

One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get to work on a variety of things. I spend time collecting data. For example, I sometimes visit nurseries to test pre-schoolers. I also analyse data by running statistics and write-up my results. Science is collaborative so another thing I do is meet with other scientists to discuss our work or attend seminars to hear about developments in the field.

What topics do you work on?

Child Development, Early Years, Executive Functions, Numerical Cognition, Attention

What methods do you use?

I use behavioural assessments including standardised psychological measures, and computerized tasks. I also use electroencephalography (EEG) to look at electrophysiological activity in the brain associated with cognitive processes.

Who was your favourite teacher?

My favourite teacher was Madame Couvillon, my kindergarten teacher. I’ve always loved school!