On this page





+44 (0)1382 384629


After completing my undergraduate degree in the School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, I was awarded an MRC studentship to study for a PhD on the topic of developmental dyslexia. I have been conducting research and lecturing in the School of Psychology at the University of Dundee since 1999. In 2009, I held a post as a Visiting Lecturer in the Unité de Recherche sur l’Evolution du Comportement et l’Apprentissage at the Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3 in France.



My current research takes a cross-linguistic perspective on language development in relation to visual word recognition and developmental dyslexia. Recent studies have investigated the influence of speech rhythm on phonological development and the relationship between orthographic depth and rates of reading acquisition in a wide range of European languages including Danish, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian Spanish and Swedish.

I have also been investigating early language development, in particular, the acquisition of knowledge about derivational morphology through collaboration with Prof. Pascale Colé (Aix-Marseille Université, France) Prof. Séverine Casalis (Université de Lille 3, France).

Finally, I have been developing an interest in the visual word recognition skills of bilinguals and second language learners together with Prof. Séverine Casalis and our former PhD student, Dr Eva Commissaire

View full research profile and publications


I supervise undergraduate and MSc dissertations and teach on the following modules:

MSc Research in Practice

MSc/Level 4: Reading Development and Disability

Level 3 Research Skills

Level 2: Language Development 

Level 1: Biological Psychology

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Dr Duncan conducts research on language development in early childhood and the interaction between language development and literacy acquisition. Areas of expertise include the influence of socioeconomic status, neurodiversity, bilingualism and metacognition on language and literacy development.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Accessibility/disability
  • Education
  • Psychology

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor

Second supervisor