Cornelia Gollek

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


I am currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow with Lynne Duncan and Douglas Potter on a project in cooperation with Fife council and Education Scotland. We are developing a novel method of measuring language development in preschool children which will allow practitioners to identify children benefitting from extra help when they start nursery. This new language assessment will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and track children’s progress throughout preschool on a cohort level.

Previously, I completed my PhD under the supervision of Martin Doherty at the University of Stirling. My thesis was concerned with word learning effects in preschool children (Metacognitive development and the disambiguation effect in monolingual and bilingual children). I investigated how children learn new labels for known and unknown objects in connection to their general theory of mind development. Before this, I completed my undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

Research outputs

Public engagement

Gollek, C. (2015, February). All cats are animals, but not all animals are cats – how children learn the meaning of words. Grey Matter Winter Talk Series, Cambo Estate, St.Andrews, UK.


Gollek, C. & Doherty, M.J. (2016). Metacognitive developments in word learning: Mutual Exclusivity and theory of mind. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 148, 51-69.

Gollek, C. & Doherty, M.J. (submitted). Bilinguals demonstrate similar word learning to their monolingual peers but superior foreign language recall. Developmental Psychology.

Gollek, C. & Doherty, M.J. (in preparation). Word learning throughout preschool years: longitudinal observations of Mutual Exclusivity and metacognition.

Further work in preparation


Duncan, L.G., Gollek, C. & Potter, D.D. (2016). e-LIPS – Early language in Play Settings. University of Dundee, UK.


e-Lips – an observational tool assessing language in preschool. Paper accepted at BPS Developmental Section conference, Belfast, UK (2016, Sept.).

Socio-economic deprivation at age 3 affects language and Theory of Mind development. Paper presented at BPS Developmental Section, Annual conference, Manchester, UK (2015, September).