• 1201 Citations
  • 15 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal profile

I have been a lecturer in Psychology at Abertay since August 2012. Previously, I worked as a research fellow at the Univesity of Edinburgh, working with Professors Martin Pickering and Holly Branigan.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Maths and Psychology (1994) at Newcastle University, and a PhD in Psychology (1999) at Lancaster University. My thesis, supervised by Professor Graham Hitch, looked at the role of working memory in children with arithmetic difficulties.




Semester 1:

- PSY101 Introductory Psychology

Semester 2:

- PSY302 Developmental Psychology

- PSY405 Language, Education and the Early Years

Research interests

I have two areas of research interest: maths learning and language. My research in the field of maths learning is wide-ranging. I am interested in how children develop numerical and arithmetical knowledge and the memory and processing differences in those with the arithmetic learning difficulty, dyscalculia. I have also been investigating maths anxiety. This research explores how maths anxiety develops in children and whether it is related to maths performance, maths teaching, or from attitudes towards maths in both children and adults.

My language research has focused mostly on Language production. More specifically, how speakers choose between alternative syntactic structures, and also how this takes place in dialogue. This research includes investigating how children learn grammatical structures and whether how they process and represent language is different from adults.


2019 Kempe, V., Chouliara, Z., Smith, K., & McLean, J. Validating non-verbal indicators of emotion and rapport during communication. Ministry of Defense (£99,753)

2015 Kempe, V., McLean, J., & Scott-Brown, K. (App-lying Science to Learning Pupil-led efficacy testing of educational apps in a Primary School setting. The Royal Society.

2002 Branigan, H.P., McLean, J. F. Syntactic processing in spoken and written production. British Academy Small grant (£4828)

2000 Branigan, H.P., McLean, J. F. Syntactic cooperation and communicative success in dialogue. Nuffield Foundation (£8996)


Please email J.McLean@abertay.ac.uk for further details.

Knowledge Exchange

Please email J.McLean@abertay.ac.uk for further details.


Please email J.McLean@abertay.ac.uk for further details.

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, PhD

Award Date: 19 Mar 2027

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Research Output

Open Access
  • Do you what I say? People reconstruct the syntax of anomalous utterances

    Ivanova, I., Branigan, H. P., McLean, J. F., Costa, A. & Pickering, M. J., 7 Feb 2017, In : Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. 32, 2, p. 175-189 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    48 Downloads (Pure)

    Do you know what I know? The impact of participant role in children's referential communication

    Branigan, H. P., Bell, J. & McLean, J. F., 23 Feb 2016, In : Frontiers in Psychology. 7, 15 p., 213.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 22 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 24 Citations (Scopus)
    149 Downloads (Pure)

    Exploring the dynamic relationship between emotion and referential communication

    Moulds, D., McLean, J. F. & Kempe, V., Sep 2015, p. 353. 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

    Open Access