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Encouraging Children to Act Out!



In addition to aging and dementia, the Rusted Lab is curious about the development of children and how it compares to the aging process later on in life. Molly Berenhaus, a second year PhD student and devoted member of the Rusted lab, is currently looking at the benefits of action (e.g., hand movements) and externalisation (e.g., creating a storyboard) on children’s understanding  and appreciation of short stories.  

Over the course of this academic year, Molly has been working with children in year 5 at a local primary school to investigate the benefits of two strategies on reading comprehension processes. Specifically she’s comparing the benefits of encouraging children to construct a visual representation of a short story (“Storyboard Construction”) using plastic cut-outs to the benefits of encouraging children to act out a short story (“Active Experiencing”) using different voices and hand movements. Both strategies have been found to help children understand what they’re reading (and enjoy doing it!) but now we have to find out  what specific aspects of a story they help children understand (The layout of the scene? Information about the protagonist?). Molly’s research is interested in just that! 

To find out more, please contact Molly at

Jenny Rusted's Lab Group website.

Undergrads sign up for Summer research experience.




We are really pleased that this year, three Psychology undergraduates have secured special bursaries to fund summer placements in the Rusted Lab.  Lisa Robogo was awarded a Junior Research Associate Bursary from the University of Sussex to work with our Sussex Partnership Trust colleagues on a study of interventions to help behavior management in people with dementia.  Dan Goodwin was awarded another of these competitive University Junior Research Associate bursaries to work on a behavioural genetics project, part of the new Alzheimers Society Doctoral Training Centre research programme we are beginning this year. And finally, Juliana Burgardt, a visiting student from Brazil, supported by a Science Without Frontiers bursary, will be learning about cognitive profiling and age-related changes.  It is a special pleasure to be able to introduce enthusiastic young scientists to our ongoing research activities, to let them see how things work in practice, how we work as a group, and how exciting it is to see results emerging as you follow a project through from inception to completion.  Welcome to all!


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