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UK Fellow, Psychology, elected in 2014

Professor Francesca Happé FBA

Typical and atypical socio-cognitive development, with particular focus on impairments and assets in autism spectrum disorder
Professor Francesca Happé FBA profile picture

About this Fellow

Francesca Happé is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London. She completed her undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and her PhD at UCL/MRC Cognitive Development Unit, supervised by Professor Uta Frith. Her research focuses on autism spectrum conditions. She has explored the nature of social understanding in typical development and 'mind-reading' difficulties in autism. She is also actively engaged in studies of abilities and assets in people with autism, and their relation to detail-focused cognitive style. As well as cognitive methods, her research has involved functional imaging studies, exploration of acquired brain lesions, and behaviour genetic analysis. Most recently she has begun studies of under-researched groups including ageing in autism, women with autism, agenesis of the corpus callosum, and children with extreme demand avoidance. She is the author of more than 180 research papers and a book on autism for general readers. She has received the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal, the Experimental Psychology Society Prize, and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award, and was President of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) from 2013-2015.



Current post

  • Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Director and Head of Department, MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London

Other Psychology Fellows

Professor Chris Frith

The relationship between the mind and the brain; studies of perception, belief, will and consciousness in sickness and health with a special emphasis on interacting minds

Professor Mark Williams

Psychological models and treatment of recurrent depression; experimental cognitive psychology of the processes that increase risk of suicidality; prevention of suicidal depression through mindfulness-based treatments

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

The neuropsychology of autism (in particular, the phenomenon of mindblindness); the psychology of sex differences in humans; the role of foetal testosterone in neurocognitive development

Professor John Duncan

Psychological and neural mechanisms of selective attention and general intelligence; with methods including cognitive psychology, studies of brain damage, functional brain imaging and neurophysiology