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School of Health and Society

Dr Sarah Norgate

Reader in Applied Developmental Psychology


Sarah Norgate was appointed to the academic staff in Psychology in 2005. She has teaching responsibilities in the area of developmental psychology including the specialist area of atypical child development. She is presently supervising undergraduate dissertations, Master’s Dissertations and Ph.D. students in the area of developmental psychology.

Previously, Sarah was a researcher at The Open University in the Department of Biological Sciences and The Centre for Childhood, Development and Learning where she authored a popular science book for the series ‘Maps of the Mind’ entitled ‘Beyond 9 to 5: Your Life in Time’ published in the USA (Columbia University Press), translated into Korean and Albanian. The book explores people’s biological, cognitive, social and cultural relationships with time across the lifespan.

Sarah’s research expertise lies mainly in applying developmental psychology to topical societal issues. Her current quest is to determine the extent to which mobile technology affords new mobility options for children, families and schools in the context of the HM Government’s Carbon Plan (2011). A key mission is to encourage thinking across agendas in the health, transport and education sectors. Underpinning this research, and building on her earlier work, Sarah is investigating how theoretical conceptions of time influence people’s decision-making about travel.

Sarah is committed to social inclusion and, to this end, her published work has involved critiques of work in behaviour genetics as well as undertaking research into blindness and visual impairment. In this area, Sarah was one of the recipients of an international travel award from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, travelling to L’Institut Curie, Paris and Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, looking at care practices for babies diagnosed with eye cancer.

Committed to the development of early career researchers (ECRs), a report (A Survey of Postdoctoral researchers and final year students in psychology: Research funding, career needs and working conditions, 2006) commissioned by the British Psychological Society led by Sarah was quoted as evidence in the ESRC International Benchmarking Review of U.K. Psychology. In 2012, Sarah contributed to the Forge Summer School for ECRs:

Sarah’s research has been delivered in close collaboration with academic, charity, local authorities, industrial and hospital-based research partners and funding has been received from a variety of sources including the EPSRC,  The Royal Society, The Leverhulme Trust, The British Psychological Society, The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and The Mary Kitzinger Trust.


Developmental Psychology

Atypical Child Development

Undergraduate Project Dissertations

Masters Project Dissertations

Sarah is committed to promoting graduate employability and encourages students to access ‘hands on’ experience through promotion of the STEM ambassador scheme. To promote public engagement opportunities for students, Sarah worked with undergraduates on the ‘Secret Life of Hands’  at a ‘Meet the Psychologist’ event held at the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry.

Research Interests

Applied Developmental Psychology

  • Mobile digital society and trip decision-making, in the context of HM Government Carbon Plan (2011).
  • Visual impairment and blindness across the lifespan – mobilities, communication and the built environment.

Living in mobile digital society, trip planning and decision-making increasingly take place via handheld computing devices.  There is the availability of dynamic ‘real time’ travel information enabling delay to decision-making about journey mode of ‘transportation host’ until the ‘last minute’ and close to the timing of any actual travel. There is a need to investigate the factors influencing decision-making about trips in the context of the HM Government’s Carbon Plan (2011).

Related to this theme, a project funded under the EPSRC-led Digital Economy and Energy programmes entitled ‘Sixth Sense Transport: Reducing/re-distributing transport options through a flexible interpretation of time’ involves five UK institutions (University of Southampton (lead), Bournemouth University, University of Edinburgh, Lancaster University and University of Salford).

Sarah’s contribution is to lead on the strand developing Smartphone enabled Walking School Buses in Primary Schools, working with Dr. Liz Smith (Research Fellow). Specifically, the focus is on the visibility/predictability of the Walking School Bus on the morning school run to primary school, facilitating uptake of active modes of transportation by children and families.

Considering Applying for a Ph.D.?

If you have interests in studying for a Ph.D. in an area of applied developmental psychology – please contact or (0161) 2952324.

Qualifications and Memberships

Ph.D. in Psychology (University of Warwick)


BSc (Hons) Psychology (University of Hertfordshire)

PGCert., (University of Salford)


Norgate, S.H. (2012) Accessibility of Urban Spaces for Visually Impaired Pedestrians, Municipal Engineer,165, ME4, pg 231 – 237.

Norgate, S.H. & Ormerod, M.G. (2012) Landmarks in Tourist Wayfinding: A Review. ICE Urban Design & Planning. 165(2), pp. 79-87.

Dickinson, J.E., Ghali, K., Cherrett, T., Speed, C., Davies, N. & Norgate, S.H. (2012) Tourism and the Smartphone App: Capabilities, Emerging Practice, and Scope in the Travel Domain’, Current Issues in Tourism.

Norgate, S.H. & Littleton, K.S. (2011) Children’s Memories for Events Relating to Treatment for Eye Cancer: Influence of Age at Loss of Eye. Infant Mental Health Journal. Vol. 32, Issue 5. Opp. 563-577.

Norgate, S.H. (2011) Atypical Development. In Slater A. et al. (eds) Introduction to Developmental Psychology, British Psychological Society nominated textbook in developmental psychology, Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford

Norgate, S.H. & Richardson, K. (2007) On images from correlations, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Vol. 30, Issue 2, 162-163. (ISSN 1469-1825).

Norgate, S.H., & Richardson, K. (2006) Behaviour genetic models and realities, Human Development, Vol. 49, no. 6, 354-357. (ISSN: 0018-716x). 

Richardson, K. & Norgate, S.H. (2006) A critical analysis of IQ studies of adopted children, Human Development, Vol. 49, no. 6, 319-335 (ISSN: 0018-716x).

Richardson, K., & Norgate, S.H. (2005). The equal environment assumption of classical twin studies may not hold.  British Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 339-350. (ISSN: 0007-0998).

Richardson, K., & Norgate, S.H. (2003). IQ Tests. Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Blackwell: Oxford. Pg 298-299 (ISBN: 0-631-22164-6).

Lewis, V., Norgate, S.H., Collis, G.M. (2002). Representation in a Congenitally Totally Blind Child between one and seven years. Enfance, 54, no. 3. 291 – 307. (ISSN: 0013-7345).

Lewis, V., Collis, G.M., Shadlock, R., Potts, M., & Norgate, S. (2002). New methods for studying blind children’s understanding of familiar space. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 20:1. (ISSN: 0264-6196).

Lewis, V., Norgate, S., Collis, G., & Reynolds, R., (2000). The consequences of visual impairment for children’s symbolic and functional play. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Vol. 18, 449 – 464. (ISSN: 0261 – 510X)

Norgate, S., Collis, G.M., Lewis, V., (1998). The developmental role of rhymes and routines for congenitally blind children, Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive/ Current Psychology of Cognition. 17 (2), 451 – 479. (ISSN: 0249 – 9185)

Norgate, S., (1997). Research methods for studying the language of blind children, in N.H. Hornberger & D.Corson, (eds) The Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 8: Research Methods in Language and Education, 165 – 175, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. (ISBN: 0-7923-4643-4)

Messer, D., Norgate, S., Joiner, R., Littleton, K. and Light, P., (1996). Development Without Learning. Educational Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 1, 5-19. (ISSN: 01443410)