Professor Dorothy Bishop

Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, Department of Experimental Psychology; Fellow of St John's College


Professor Bishop researches language impairments in children. In some cases, language difficulties have an obvious cause, such as hearing loss or a condition such as Down's syndrome. In other cases, children have particular difficulty learning to talk or understand language for no obvious reason. Professor Bishop has studied children with 'specific language impairment' or SLI, who make up around 3% of the population but tend to be neglected by researchers. Using twin studies, she has investigated the genetic component to these disorders, and has worked with molecular geneticists to find out which genes are involved.

She also looks at related conditions, such as autistic spectrum disorder and developmental dyslexia, which share many overlaps with SLI. She aims to discover whether genes involved in SLI also affect the risk of these related conditions. Ultimately, by unravelling the genetic and neurological causes of language problems, she hopes to find ways to help children with early intervention and specialised teaching.