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Jennifer Keating

Dr Jennifer Keating


Research Associate

School of Social Sciences


My main research interests lies in identifying and understanding factors which support children's development. I am also interested in sensory processing differences and sensory experiences and their impact on child development. I currently work in the Education Data Lab at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD) and Administrative Data Research (ADR) Wales. In my research, I use administrative data and large scale survey data to understand the education of children with additional learning needs. 

I previously worked as a Research Associate at the School of Healthcare Sciences and School of Psychology at Cardiff University. In this role, I worked on research projects with a focus on cognitive flexibility, developmental coordination disorder, and the benefits of play for social and emotional development. I use a variety of research methods including data linkage, behavioural assessments, caregiver-reports, electroencephalography (EEG), and functional near-infared spectroscopy (fNIRS).








Current projects:

Wales Education Data Lab/Administrative Data Research Wales: In this research, I undertake analysis of administrative education data and large scale survey data to understand the education of children with additional learning needs. This involves using education data from the Welsh Government and Census data to inform education policy in Wales. 

Coordination, Movement, and the Brain Study (CoMB): The CoMB study is investigating the neural correlates of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Specifically, I am using electroencephalography (EEG) to examine mirror neuron system activity in children with DCD.

The benefits of doll play: I am working on a variety of studies investigating the impact of doll play across a number of areas including empathy, social skills, and language. This project involves using functional near-infared spectroscopy, behavioural assessments, caregiver reports, and observational measures in both neurotypical children and children with autistic traits.

The role of cognitive flexibility in children's repetitive behaviour:  This study examines the role of subtypes of cognitive flexibility (set shifting and representational flexbility) on children's repetitive behaviours.



Undergraduate education

BA Psychology, University College Dublin (First Class Honours)

Postgraduate education

PhD Psychology, University College Dublin


2023-present: Research Associate, Wales Insitute of Social and Economic Research and Data

2021-2023: Research Associate, School of Psychology, Cardiff University

2020-2021: Research Associate, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University

Honours and awards

  • University Innovation Institute Strategic Research and Development Fund, Cardiff University - April 2022
  • Research Infastructure Bid for Neonatal Brain Imaging Equipment (Co-Investigator), Cardiff University - August 2021
  • Shortlisted for Psychological Society of Ireland Division of Neuropsychology Early Career Award – November 2019
  • SPARC Public Engagement Funding, UCD – November 2019
  • Seed Funding – Dissemination and Outputs, UCD – April 2019
  • Graduate Research and Innovation Fund, UCD – March 2019
  • Graduate Research and Innovation Fund, UCD – October 2018
  • Travel Award, Guarantors of Brain – May 2018
  • Postgraduate Scholarship in Arts, UCD – March 2018

Research themes


  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neurodiversity
  • Neuropsychology
  • Child and adolescent development