Brown Bag Talk by Ms. Rui Qi on 31 October

October 27, 2014


Speaker: Ms. Rui Qi

Title: “Predicting Nonword Repetition and Spelling Development in Bilingual Kindergarten Children”

Date: 31 October 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Brown and Hulme (1996) proposed a model of the causal relationships between receptive vocabulary, phonological memory and spelling for monolingual English-speaking children. Little is known about the equivalent processing in different bilingual groups. To evaluate and extend the model for the bilingual population, 29 pairs of Mandarin-L1/English-L2 and Malay-L1/English-L2 4- to 5-year-olds (matched on English receptive and expressive vocabulary) were assessed on nonword repetition (NWR) performance at Time 1 and WRAT4 spelling in English a year later at Time 2. Hierarchical regressions revealed group differences: Mandarin-ESL children seem to rely on different types of vocabulary measures for the nonword repetition and spelling tasks but expressive vocabulary seems to be consistently related with the two tasks for the Malay-ESL children. The data suggest ESL group differences in the underlying cognitive-linguistic factors influencing these variables.

About the Speaker:

Rui Qi is currently a Masters candidate in the Department of Psychology. Her primary area of research is in the psycholinguistic domain, specifically the phonological and spelling development in bilingual children. Outside of research, she can be found reading about anything literature, science, feminism, the environment et al.

Brown Bag Talk by Ms. Mary Lee Lay Choo on 24 October

October 20, 2014


Speaker: Ms. Mary Lee Lay Choo

Title: “Vocabulary Development of Bilingual Preschoolers in Singapore”

Date: 24 October 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


For monolingual children, receptive vocabulary is a good indicator of overall language abilities (Paul, 2001) and predicts literacy skills and academic success. Measuring vocabulary development in bilingual children is more challenging and understanding its role in literacy is rather complex. Few, if any studies have tracked changes in a single setting, using objective, culturally appropriate tests, and contrasting languages. Following a brief introduction to the context and the range of variables employed for this longitudinal study (from Nursery to Kindergarten 2, ages 4-6 years),   the nature of vocabulary development will be described for three contrasting groups of bilingual pre-schoolers living in Singapore: English L1/Mandarin L2 (n=34), Mandarin L1/English L2 (n=31), and Malay L1/English L2 (n=30). For each child, five different measures of vocabulary were collated:  single language receptive vocabulary in L1 and L2, single language expressive vocabulary in L1 and L2, and total conceptual expressive vocabulary (singlets plus doublet overlap in L1/L2). In addition to age and language exposure at home and in kindergarten, the results suggest that the pattern of vocabulary development depends on the relationship between the bilingual child’s two languages, notably phonology.

About the Speaker:

Mary is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology. Her main research interest is language and literacy development of bilingual children. Prior to the Ph.D. programme, she worked at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital assessing children with special needs.


Cha Yeow Siah, Ryan Hong, Jia Lile, and Trevor Penney have won the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award!

October 16, 2014



We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Cha Yeow Siah, Dr. Ryan Hong, Dr. Jia Lile, and A/P Trevor Penney have been recognized for their outstanding teaching for AY2013/2014! Congratulations!!

A/P Leher Singh’s research featured on Channel News Asia

October 14, 2014

A/P Leher Singh’s recent research on bilingual infants was featured on two Channel News Asia programs, It Figures and Singapore Tonight. Click below to view the full videos:

















Special Brown Bag Talk by Mr. Sven-Amin Lembke on 9 October

October 7, 2014

Psychology Brownbag Talk_9 Oct 2014 (Thursday)

Brown Bag Talk by Dr. Gregor Lange on 10 October

October 7, 2014


Speaker: Dr. Gregor Lange

Title: “Mindfulness”

Date: 10 October 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


In this talk I will explore the concept and practice of mindfulness.  Furthermore, I will outline how it is useful not just for our students but also applicable to staff.  We will explore how mindfulness relates to mind wandering, happiness, and being productive at work or studying.

About the Speaker:

Gregor Lange is a German-born, Irish- and American trained clinical psychologist. His work experiences include working in public health care services (Ireland), private clinics (Ireland, USA, Vietnam), and currently lecturing at NUS where he teaches Mindful Psychology. He has also worked as an independent consultant, researcher, and author. Gregor’s clinical work has included working with families, couples and individual adults with a variety of problems for more than 10 years. He is particularly interested in mindfulness-based interventions and how mindfulness can enrich the lives of clients and the community.

Brown Bag Talk by Prof Richard Ebstein on 3 October

September 29, 2014


Speaker: Prof Richard Ebstein

Title: “Gene – Culture Coevolution” Exemplified by the Rice – Wheat Culture Theory in China

Date: 3 October 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


A unique feature of H. sapiens is that many of the skills essential for individual and group survival can be passed from one generation to the next. Such cultural evolution in humans is apparently an important mechanism that can help explain group selection especially in the presence of other complementary processes. Moreover, evidence suggests that cultural and genetic forces are likely to jointly shape broad aspects of human behaviour, a conceptualisation referred to as gene-culture coevolution.

A recent article in SCIENCE suggests that in China there are differences based on geography in wheat and rice farming that are reflected in levels of holistic versus analytical thinking. Our group here in NUS (B2ESS) investigated these findings using our own data of more than 1000 university students in Beijing. We not only confirm but extend the initial findings using behavioural economic as well as Chinese national survey data. Additionally, we also observe that a particular gene, the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4), appears to partially mediate the cultural differences in prosocial behaviour and farming practices. Hence, our findings add to the nascent field of gene – culture coevolution and suggest that genetic mechanisms are important in embedding human cultural norms.

About the Speaker:

Prof Ebstein completed his Masters and PhD at Yale University, after which he held numerous positions such as Assistant Professor at New York University Medical Center to Professor at Hebrew University. Prof Ebstein then joined NUS as a Professor in 2010. Richard Ebstein’s research revolves around human behaviour genetics, with the overarching goal of providing molecular insights into the role of genes as a partial contributor to all facets of human behaviour. His work is highly interdisciplinary and combines personality, social, cognitive, and neuropsychology with techniques of molecular genetics. Major research areas include neuroeconomics, the genetics of social behaviour and normal personality, autism, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Prof Ebstein has published widely in leading academic journals such as The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of Pain and the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Ms. Tan Sze Ying, one of our clinical graduate students, featured in the news

September 22, 2014









Ms. Tan Sze Ying, a former full-time Teaching Assistant and currently one of our graduate students in the Clinical Psychology program, was recently featured in the news for her volunteer work with the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC). Well done, Sze Ying!

To read more about this, please go to:×33.jpg

Brown Bag Talk by Mr. Daniel Gan on 19 September

September 16, 2014


Speaker: Mr. Daniel Gan

Title: Early Predictors of Social and Non-social Autistic-Like Traits in Toddlers

Date: 19 September 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Recent research has demonstrated that while Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and autistic-like traits (ALTs) share a common etiology, independent sets of etiological factors appear to underlie the different core autistic dimensions. The present study investigated whether early precursors of ASD (occurring at birth and in the first year of life) were significantly associated with and predicted later social and non-social ALTs in 18-month-old toddlers. Participants were 368 Singaporean toddlers involved in a nationwide prospective longitudinal study: GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes). Results showed that different infant precursors predicted social versus non-social ALTs at 18 months. The study findings resonate with earlier literature suggesting that the core autistic dimensions are each underpinned by distinct sets of etiological factors. In addition, they provide preliminary cross-cultural support for the view that the etiological contributions and neurobiological abnormalities underpinning the different core autistic dimensions are likely different.

About the Speaker:

Daniel received his B.Soc.Sci.(Hons) degree in Psychology from NUS. He is currently a M.Soc.Sci. candidate in the department. His main research seeks to identify early life predictors of autistic traits in young children.

New Psychology Texts at the Central Library

September 15, 2014

New psychology books come in every week at the Central Library. Subscribe to the Psychology Department blog to be kept informed of new arrivals!

If these books are out on loan, do place a hold on them by clicking on the orange “Request” button at the top of the page- that way, you can be the next one to read them!

To see more new Psychology books, click here.

1. Introduction to the psychology of ageing for non-specialists

(By Ian Stuart-Hamilton)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF724.8 Stu 2014

Introduction to the psychology of ageing for non-specialists








About the book:

A complete primer for non-specialists on the psychology of ageing, this accessible and comprehensive book explains the key issues clearly and concisely. Beginning with explanations of ageing, life expectancy and demographics, it goes on to discuss the aspects of ageing that have the most impact on people’s lives. From changes in intelligence and personality to mental health and sexuality, the author explains the psychology involved and focuses on the points that offer the most practical help to those working with the older populous. Drawing on the latest findings in the field, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the subject. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

(2) Pretend play in childhood : foundation of adult creativity

(By Sandra W. Russ)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF717 Rus 2014

Pretend play in childhood_foundation of adult creativity








About this book:

Sandra W. Russ reviews the theory and research on pretend play and creativity, arguing that pretend play in childhood provides a foundation for adult creativity. She describes cognitive and affective processes involved in play and creativity, as well as the possible evolutionary purposes of play and its cultural variations. In particular, she highlights the importance of pretend play in helping children to access emotional memories and fantasies and presents interventions designed to encourage children s creativity (APA).

 3. Young child observation : a development in the theory and method of infant observation

(Edited by Simonetta M. G. Adamo and Margret Rustin)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF721 You 2014

Young child observation_a development in the theory and method of infant observation








About the book:

Observing young children at play is an everyday and often fascinating and pleasurable experience for many of us. It also has a great pedigree in the development of psychoanalysis from Freud’s observation of his grandson’s game with the cotton-reel onwards.

This book describes the practice of observing young children in home and nursery settings in a systematic and non-intrusive way in order to expand our understanding of their emotional, cognitive, and social development. It uses a psychoanalytic lens to enrich the meaning of what is seen. How do minds and personalities take shape? How can we train people to see what is most relevant in helping children to develop?

The chapters range from classic papers by famous practitioners of an older generation to observations completed in recent years in the UK, Europe, and the US. Observation of this sort has also spread to Latin America, India, Australia, Africa, and the Far East. The differences and continuities with Infant Observation are the starting point. What happens when a child starts nursery? How active a playmate should an observer be? How do we balance the close attention given to the observed child with the wider group of children in a nursery? How do we make sense of the marked cultural differences we see between families, nurseries, and indeed national cultures? How can we use observation as a baseline for early intervention and how can we research what we are doing? (Karnac Books)

(4) Psychology in your life

(By Sarah Grison)

Central Library (Level 3)

Psychology in your life








About this book:

This is a new introductory text designed to help students succeed in the course. Psychology in Your Life was created with the realities of the modern classroom in mind–the text and the media get students actively engaged with the topics, show them how psychology can be relevant to their lives, and teach them how to be critical consumers of information.

Contents covered include the world of psychology, the role of biology in psychology, consciousness, development across the lifespan, sensation and perception, learning, memory, thinking and cognitive abilities, motivation and emotion, health and well-being, social psychology, personality, psychological disorders, psychological treatments, etc. (W.W. Norton & Co.)

(5) Child forensic psychology : victim and eyewitness memory

(Edited by Robyn H. Holliday and Tammy A. Marche)

BF371 Chi 2013

Child forensic psychology_victim and eyewitness memory








About this book:

Using real-life criminal cases to illustrate theory and practices, this is important reading for those seeking to understand children as witnesses and as victims in forensic psychology. Ideal for students and practitioners of both developmental and forensic psychology, it offers fascinating insight into the mysteries of child forensic psychology. (Palgrave Macmillan)